The military junta that seized power in Niger last month has ordered its troops to be on maximum alert, citing growing threats of attack, according to an official document.
The alert order, confirmed as authentic by a Nigerien security source, allows the armed forces to be fully prepared to respond to any aggression and avoid being caught off guard.
The document, circulated online on Saturday, said threats to Niger’s territory were intensifying.
The move comes as the West African regional bloc ECOWAS has been pressing the junta leaders to restore civilian rule after the July 26 coup. ECOWAS has said it could deploy a standby force to Niger if diplomacy fails.
On Friday, ECOWAS downplayed the threat of military intervention but said it remains an option. The bloc’s president insisted ECOWAS is not planning to invade Niger or declare war on its people.
Some have expressed concerns that activating ECOWAS’ standby force could further destabilize the insurgency-afflicted Sahel region.