Military coups have always been a trend in Africa, especially in West Africa, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a long history of military interventions in the region.
Naija News understands that the regional bloc has been successful in restoring democratic rule to some of the West African countries taken over by military forces.
The latest is the planned military intervention in Niger Republic following the removal and detention of President Mohamed Bazoum by a military junta headed by General Abdourahamane Tchiani.
However, after its Extraordinary meeting in Abuja on Thursday, ECOWAS activated a “standby force” against the coup leaders in Niger Republic after the imposition of sanctions on the country.
This will be among the intervention of ECOWAS in member states if it decides to go ahead with its plan, as the regional bloc has previously sent troops into several member states since 1990.
Below is the list of countries ECOWAS has intervened.
Its first foray into military intervention took place on August 1990. ECOWAS members assembled a force of several hundred men to intervene in Liberia’s brutal civil war.
The Nigerian-dominated force grew to nearly 20,000 soldiers. In 1997, it also carried out a major disarmament operation, paving the way for multi-party elections.
The last ECOWAS soldiers left Liberia in October 1999, but four years later, the bloc intervened again after a second civil war broke out.
In May 1997, ECOWAS forces were deployed in neighbouring Sierra Leone when a civil war broke out in the country.
The ECOWAS forces were able to drive out the military junta and reinstated President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Also, in 1999, they repelled a rebel offensive on the capital Freetown.
It was, however, replaced by a UN peacekeeping force in 2000.
Another intervention of ECOWAS took place in the former Portuguese colony of Guinea Bissau in 1999 after an army coup ousted President Joao Bernardo Vieira. Several months later, the force withdrew after failing to prevent Vieira’s overthrow.
In May 2012, ECOWAS troops returned twice to help the political transition after another coup took place.
It also returned to the troubled country in 2022 after a failed intervention that claimed 11 lives.
A 1,300-strong West African force was deployed in January 2003 after a civil war in Ivory Coast.
In 2004, the ECOWAS soldiers got integrated into the UN’s mission in the country and restored democratic rule to the country.
In January 2013, ECOWAS sent a military force to Mali under a United Nations resolution to help drive out the Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists who overran the country’s north.
In July 2013, the 6,300-strong ECOWAS force was absorbed by the UN’s MINUSMA stabilisation force in Mali.
MINUSMA ended its operations in June 2023 after being pushed out by an anti-Western military junta.
In January 2017, troops from five African nations gathered on the borders of the tiny coup-prone state of The Gambia to pressure strongman Yahya Jammeh to stand down after losing the presidential elections to Adama Barrow.
Two days later, Jammeh agreed to go into exile in Equatorial Guinea, ending six weeks of crisis.
At Barrow’s request, the ECOWAS mission remained in The Gambia.