Benin border troubled by ECOWAS sanctions

Hundreds of stranded trucks clog the roads near Benin’s northern border with Niger, a stark symbol of the repercussions of the sanctions placed on Niger since a coup ousted its president nearly two months ago.

The new administration has also blocked a key border bridge with Benin, trapping drivers like Mahamat Kabirou Amadou in Malanville, whose rice cargo has spoiled due to weeks of waiting.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions on Niger, leading to a 21% rise in food prices and severe food insecurity warnings. UN food aid is stuck in transit, and Malanville has become a makeshift parking lot for stranded vehicles.

ECOWAS demands a return to civilian rule but is cautious about intervention, given past lengthy transitions in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.

Sanctions are affecting Niger’s neighbors, with Ghana experiencing an onion shortage, and traders in Nigeria’s border communities with Niger feeling the economic impact.

Some are resorting to illegal routes, leading to increased prices for rice and other goods.

Additionally, informal boats are now ferrying passengers across the River Niger at inflated prices due to high demand, as the border closure causes immense suffering for those affected.

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