Niamey – “We are deeply concerned about the sub-regional tensions related to the political situation in Niger,” the members of the United Episcopal Conference of West Africa write in a statement released on the eve of today’s meeting, August 10th, in Abuja, Nigeria, of the Community which will decide on the way forward after the expiration of the ultimatum addressed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the Nigerian junta.
“Considering the events unfolding in our sub-region, it is our moral, spiritual, and pastoral duty to address this letter of exhortation to all those involved, directly or indirectly, in managing this crisis, to invite each one to restraint, discernment, and responsibility.
The lives of our West African people are at stake,” underline the bishops from West African countries, whose intervention adds to those of the Episcopal Conferences of Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso (see Fides 7/8/2023).
Recalling the Western intervention in Libya (2011), the bishops highlight the uncertainties of a forced action in Niger. “We, your pastors, are convinced, and the history of peoples teaches us, that violence solves no problem, not even the one at the origin of its outbreak.
We affirm and insist to ECOWAS and the African Union that any military intervention in Niger at this moment would only complicate the situation of the Nigerien populations and the sub-region, rather than bringing them solutions.”
“Terrorism is already claiming victims among widows, orphans, displaced people, the hungry, the mutilated, etc. The populations do not expect regional and African institutions to add to their suffering,” concludes the note, referring to the jihadist terrorism affecting Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and significant regions of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the junta has formed a new government led by a civilian prime minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, former director of the African Development Bank in Chad, and former Chief of Staff of former Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja.
original article on Agenzia Fides.