The French ambassador has been given 48 hours to leave Niger by the military authorities that took over Niamey on July 26, according to a statement released on Friday by the nation’s foreign affairs ministry.
In response to “other actions of the French government contrary to the interests of Niger” and “the refusal of the French ambassador in Niamey to respond to an invitation” from the minister for a meeting on Friday, the authorities have decided to revoke Sylvain Itte’s approval and demand that he leave within 48 hours, according to the statement.
This choice comes after a string of anti-French remarks and protests since the Nigerien army deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, who is currently being held in detention alongside his family.
The military chiefs assert that France, a former regional colonial power, wants to militarily engage in the country in order to restore Bazoum and that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a group in France’s back pocket.
Following the coup, ECOWAS imposed severe economic sanctions on Niger and threatened to use force to reestablish constitutional order.
In order to assist in battling the terrorist organizations that have long plagued both Niger and the larger Sahel region, France has about 1,500 troops stationed there.