Residents in the Niger capital of Niamey are calling for volunteers above the age of 18 to assist the army as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) threatens to use military force after the deadline for the military junta to free Niger President Mohamed Bazoum passed last week. ECOWAS has activated a “standby force” which is prepared to restore order in Niger after the military coup three weeks ago. Amsarou Bako and other Niamey residents have organized the Volunteers for the Defense of Niger which would fight with, assist with medical care and provide logistical support to the Niger military. Bako said the junta was not directly involved but aware of the volunteer initiative. Experts say that a military intervention could trigger a regional conflict in the Sahel region which already suffers from political instability, poverty and violent attacks from jihadi groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State.