Niger Regime Lashes France’s Macron ‘Interference’ For Backing Bazoum

This video frame grab image obtained by AFP from ORTN – Télé Sahel on July 28, 2023 shows General Abdourahamane Tchiani, Niger’s new strongman, speaking on national television and reads a statement as “President of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland”, after the ouster of President-elect Mohamed Bazoum. (Photo by ORTN – Télé Sahel / AFP)

Niger’s new military rulers on Friday accused France of “further blatant interference” after President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his support for ousted leader Mohamed Bazoum.

Macron’s comments, made on Monday, “constitute further blatant interference in Niger’s domestic affairs,” the regime’s spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdramane said in a statement read on nationwide TV.

Bazoum, a close ally of France, was forced out on July 26 by members of his guard.

Relations with France, the country’s former colonial power and ally in its fight against jihadism, went swiftly downhill after Paris stood by Bazoum.

The Sahel state is also embroiled in a standoff with the West African bloc ECOWAS, which has threatened to intervene militarily if diplomatic pressure to return the elected Bazoum to office fails.

On Monday, Macron said, “I call on all the states in the region to adopt a responsible policy.”

France, he said, “supports (ECOWAS’) diplomatic action and, when it so decides, (its) military” action, he said, describing this as “a partnership approach.”

He paid further tribute to Bazoum, hailing him as a “principled, democratically elected and courageous man.”

Abdramane said “Mr. Macron’s comments and his unceasing efforts in favour of an invasion of Niger aim at perpetuating a neo-colonial operation against the Nigerien people, who ask for nothing more than to decide its own destiny for itself.”

Abdramane said Niger’s “differences” with France “do not touch on the relationship between our peoples, or on individuals, but on the relevance of the French military presence in Niger.”

France has around 1,500 troops in Niger, many of them stationed at an airbase near the capital, who are deployed to help fight a bloody jihadist insurgency.

A week earlier, the regime gave French ambassador Sylvain Itte 48 hours to leave the country.

France refused, saying that the military rulers had no legal authority to make the demand.

Written by PH

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