Niger closes airspace as ECOWAS deadline for coup reversal expires

Niger’s coup leaders say there has been a pre-deployment of troops in two Central African nations for military intervention.

Niger’s coup leaders have closed the country’s airspace after rejecting an ultimatum from West African states to reinstate deposed President Mohamed Bazoum or risk military intervention.

The move, announced late on Sunday, came as tens of thousands of coup supporters gathered at a stadium in Niger’s capital, Niamey, to cheer on the generals who seized power – or the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP).

Amadou Abdramane, a spokesman for the CNSP, cited the threat of military intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the airspace closure.

In a statement read out on national television, Abdramane said there had been a pre-deployment of forces in two Central African countries in preparation for intervention, but did not give details.

“In the face of the threat of intervention, which is becoming clearer through the preparation of neighbouring countries, Niger’s airspace is closed from this day on Sunday … for all aircraft until further notice,” he said.