The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has warned Russia that it will be held accountable if the private military contractor, Wagner Group, becomes involved in the ongoing crisis in the Republic of Niger.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, reiterated this stance during an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
Ambassador Musah emphasized that the presence of Wagner Group from Russia, which is rumored to be currently operating in Mali, must not result in any violations of human rights or destabilization of the West African region.
Musah acknowledged that while some countries might have separate agreements with the private military outfit, any actions leading to human rights abuses would result in diplomatic consequences.
“We want to take them by their word, which means any sort of action that infringes on human rights or devastation in our region by these private military contractors, we are going to hold the other countries of our region responsible for that,” Musah stated.
The Commissioner’s remarks shed light on the concerning situation where private military companies have been a recurring element in African conflicts.
“Private military companies were involved in Sierra Leone. They were involved in Liberia during those civil wars, long ago,” Musah remarked, emphasizing that such groups are deemed unacceptable on the African continent.
The backdrop of ECOWAS’s resolute stance comes as ousted Niger President Mohamed Bazoum and his son remain under disturbing conditions at the hands of the coup leaders.
Ambassador Musah revealed the dire circumstances faced by the detained president and his son, including denial of medical attention and basic necessities.
He voiced ECOWAS’s commitment to intervening if necessary to secure their release and protect their well-being.
Furthermore, a decisive move was taken by West African chiefs of staff following a recent summit that directed the deployment of a “standby force” to address the crisis in Niger.
The upcoming meeting of ECOWAS military chiefs, scheduled to convene in Accra, Ghana, is anticipated to chart a course for resolving the crisis and restoring stability to the region.