Niger closed its airspace due to the “threat of intervention” as the junta defied a deadline from the West African bloc ECOWAS to reinstate democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum or face possible military action.
ECOWAS issued its ultimatum a week ago, demanding the generals relinquish power by midnight Sunday (2300 GMT).
“Faced with 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,” the junta said in a statement released shortly before the deadline passed.
Any attempt to violate the country’s airspace would meet with an “energetic and immediate response”, the statement added.
Early Monday, there were no aircraft operating in Niger’s skies, according to the flight tracking website Flightradar24.
In a separate statement, the now-ruling National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) said there had been a “pre-deployment in preparation for intervention” made by two Central African countries, without naming them.
“Any state involved will be considered co-belligerent,” it warned.
Source: France 24