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Niger’s military junta ejects French ambassador, gives 48 hours to leave country



The group of military leaders who took power in Niamey through a coup on July 26th have enforced the expulsion of the French ambassador, issuing a directive for the diplomat to depart Niger within a span of 48 hours.

This revelation has been conveyed through an official announcement from Niger’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday. The statement indicated that the expulsion was a result of the ambassador’s non-compliance with an invitation to meet with the minister.

Furthermore, the statement noted that various actions undertaken by the French government were deemed to be against Niger’s interests, although specific details were not elaborated upon.

What Niger’s Foreign Affairs Ministry is saying

  • The statement from the ministry reads, ‘’Faced with the refusal of the French ambassador in Niamey to respond to an invitation” from the minister for a meeting Friday and “other actions of the French government contrary to the interests of Niger”, the authorities have decided to withdraw their approval of Sylvain Itte and ask him to depart within 48 hours.’

The French Foreign Affairs Ministry has yet to officially respond to the latest development as at the time of this report.

There has been a frosty relationship between the coup leaders and the French government, who have called for the restoration of President Mohamed Bazoum to office following his ouster.

Niger has accused French forces of freeing captured “terrorists” and breaching a ban on the country’s air space in an attempt to destabilize the country.

What you should know

  • ECOWAS had imposed heavy economic sanctions on Niger in response to the coup and has not ruled out using military force against the junta who seized power from President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023.
  • The West African bloc had approved the deployment of a “standby force to restore constitutional order” in Niger as soon as possible but remains committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
  • After returning from the coup-torn country, ECOWAS envoy to Niger Republic and former Nigerian Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, had said that his delegation’s meeting with Niger Republic coup leaders last weekend was fruitful.

France has some 1,500 troops stationed in Niger to aid in fighting jihadist groups that have plagued the country and the wider Sahel region for years.