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Nigeria denies assembling forces for military action in Niger

By Xinhua

   LAGOS, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian military has dismissed recent media reports that it is assembling its forces for military action against the military junta in Niger.
   The military has not received orders for intervention in Niger after the coup, according to a statement by Tukur Gusau, the military spokesperson, issued on Wednesday.
   The statement said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a series of options in reaction to the illegal takeover of government by some military leaders in Niger, and the military option is the "last option" to be taken in case every other option fails to reverse the situation.
   "At the moment, the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff is currently holding an extraordinary meeting in Abuja to discuss the political situation in the Republic of Niger and submit their plans to the committee of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for consideration," said the statement.
   It said the armed forces of Nigeria cannot proceed with any operation in any of the member states of ECOWAS without the mandate of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.
   In a recent meeting in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, ECOWAS leaders have given the military junta in Niger a week to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum and restore constitutional order in the country, or the regional bloc would use all options, including the use of force.  Enditem
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