Defense chiefs from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS are meeting today and tomorrow in Ghana to discuss a possible military intervention in Niger, where the military seized power last month. The Intercept is reporting U.S.-trained officers have been appointed to head five of Niger’s eight regions under the new military junta. This comes as the United Nations is warning that international sanctions could worsen a growing humanitarian crisis in Niger.
Farhan Haq: “In Niger, our humanitarian colleagues are concerned about the potential impact of the ongoing crisis on the food security situation. Before the coup, over 3 million people were already severely food insecure, and according to the World Food Programme, some 7.3 million food-insecure people could see their situation worsen due to the unfolding crisis. Humanitarian exemptions to sanctions and border closures are required to avert a rapid deterioration of the food security and malnutrition situation.”
In other news from Niger, at least 17 soldiers have been killed in an attack near the Mali border. In recent years, the region has seen a surge in violence by groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS.