Niger has closed its airspace in the midst of threats of an intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
After a deadline they had set expired without the restoration of the deposed president, Niger’s new military junta cited the threat of military intervention by West African states and shut off the nation’s airspace indefinitely.
“In the face of the threat of intervention that is becoming more apparent, Nigerien airspace is closed effective from today,” a Nigerien spokesman said in an address on national television late on Sunday.
The National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland further explained that the decision to close Niger’s airspace “until further notice”, was a necessity.
The putschists insisted on the fact that “the Nigerien armed forces, and all the defense and security forces, with the unwavering support of the people, are ready to defend the integrity of Niger”.
The decision, however, is perceived to have caused chaos on the air networks of several companies, considering that many flights had to be diverted or canceled.
The ECOWAS ultimatum demanding the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum expired at midnight on Sunday.
To show their solidarity with the people of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali have decided to send a delegation to Niamey.
ECOWAS Heads of State will meet again on Thursday, August 10, in Abuja, Nigeria, for an extraordinary summit to focus on the political situation in Niger.