Niger gives French ambassador 48 hours to leave over interference

2023-08-26 18:33:35
Niger gives French ambassador 48 hours to leave over interference

Niger has given France's ambassador to Niamey 48 hours to leave the West African country over Paris’ meddling in the internal affairs of its former colony.

Faced with "the refusal of the French ambassador in Niamey to respond to an invitation" from Niger's foreign minister for a meeting on 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, read a statement by the Nigerien top diplomat.

Niger's military generals overthrew the country's French-allied President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26. Ever since they have accused Paris of seeking to intervene militarily in the country to reinstate Bazoum.

There are unconfirmed reports about other foreign envoys also getting marching orders from Niger's military rulers.

Hundreds of protesters in Niger held a demonstration in front of the French military base in the capital Niamey and threatened to storm the facility if French troops don't leave the West African nation within a week.

The demonstration was held hours after Niger ordered the French ambassador to leave the country.

On July 31, the junta took aim at Paris, saying, "In its search for ways and means to intervene militarily in Niger, France with the complicity of some Nigeriens, held a meeting with the chief of staff of the Nigerien National Guard to obtain the necessary political and military authorization."

Back at the time, France responded to the accusation, with Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna denying the charges and adding that it was still "possible" to restore Bazoum to power.

Despite denying any intention to invade Niger, Paris has vowed to resort to "immediate and uncompromising" action if French citizens or interests were targeted.

Ever since the coup, protestors in Niger have, on several occasions, come out in force to display support for the coup leaders and voice rejection of the country's former Western-backed authorities.

Earlier this month, thousands of people surrounded a French military base in the capital, protesting against years of military intervention by the European country in Niger.

Protesters rallied near the army base on the outskirts of Niamey, shouting, "Down with France, down with ECOWAS," in reference to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West Africa's main regional bloc, which they accused of being "manipulated by France."


Error! Error occured!