By John Ikani
Thousands of individuals formed orderly queues outside Niamey’s central stadium on Saturday (Aug. 19), heeding the call for civilian auxiliaries to bolster the armed forces.
The organizer of the event clarified that this initiative wasn’t directly linked to the junta, although the junta was aware of its progress.
Countries in the region have cautioned the Nigerien junta about the potential of a military intervention.
“I’m driven by love for my country to enlist as a soldier. Niger is our homeland. My dedication is to Niger. Long live Niger!” exclaimed Mamadou with passion.
“I heard they’re seeking 5,000 to 10,000 volunteer soldiers. That’s why I’m here,” said Abdoulaye, a footballer.
Certain parents brought their children along to register, while others mentioned waiting since 3 a.m., responding to the call from various organizations.
The youth chanted in support of the junta and against both ECOWAS and France, the former colonial power.
This effort, spearheaded by a local Niamey group, aims to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers from across the nation. These individuals are stepping up to join the Volunteers for the Defense of Niger.
The group would be prepared for combat, provide medical assistance, and offer technical and engineering support, among other tasks, in the event that the junta requires aid. Amsarou Bako, one of the founders, explained this to The Associated Press on Tuesday (Aug. 8).
“I stand as a mother to those in the military, eagerly awaiting your presence, young volunteers. I must say this from today until tomorrow, with God’s blessing. We’re awaiting you, hopeful that you’ll guide us through these challenges,” an unnamed activist declared to the cheerful crowd.
ECOWAS envoys touched down in Niger on Saturday (Aug. 19) with the goal of fostering further dialogue with the junta.
The delegation includes former Nigerian military leader Abdulsalami Abubakar, as stated by the Nigerien ruling CNSP’s communication office.
Abubakar had previously visited Niamey on August 3rd as an ECOWAS representative, although he couldn’t meet the nation’s new leader, Abdourahamane Tchiani, or the deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum.
The commissioner for political affairs and security at ECOWAS reiterated on Friday (Aug. 18) that they were fully prepared to deploy a standby force should negotiations encounter obstacles.