The escalation is increasing between the ruling military council in Niger and the French authorities, as French President Emmanuel Macron refused, yesterday, Monday, to withdraw his country’s ambassador from Niger with the expiration of the deadline set by the military for his departure, while the military is counting on popular demonstrations to force the ambassador to leave.
The French President said, during a speech to the French ambassadors meeting in Paris on Monday, that the French ambassador to Niger will remain there despite the pressures of the leaders of the coup that the country witnessed recently. Macron reiterated that he would continue to support Niger’s ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, whose decision Macron described not to resign as a “courageous decision”. He added that his country’s policy in Niger “is clear and we derive it from President Bazoum’s courage and our military principles and interests,” stressing that if ECOWAS countries abandon Bazoum, the heads of the group will be at risk. He pointed out that he heard voices from Washington and European capitals calling for not exaggerating in dealing with the situation in Niger.
Macron’s statements come after the expiration of the deadline given by the military council to the French ambassador, Sylvain Ait, to leave the country. The vicinity of the French military base in the capital, Niamey, witnessed a demonstration in support of the military council and rejecting the stay of the Paris ambassador in the country.
The crowd raised the flags of Niger and Russia, and chanted slogans denouncing France’s positions, accusing it of undermining the country’s security. Others carried banners calling for the departure of the French forces, as 1,500 French soldiers are still stationed in Niger.
Hours before the expiry of the deadline set by the military council in Niger for the departure of It, Council member Colonel Bashir Amadou said that the people of Niger will force this ambassador to leave, and called for the continuation of “mobilization and struggle” until the departure of the last French soldier, and he said, addressing the crowds, “We told him to leave Our country, go and leave Niger, but you will force him to leave, do not go to the embassy, only, if the mobilization continues, we will make them leave.” “The struggle will not stop until the day when there will be no French soldiers in Niger,” he added.
Last Friday, the military council in Niger gave the French ambassador, Sylvain Eit, 48 hours to leave the country, due to his refusal to respond to the Nigerien Foreign Ministry’s invitation to “conduct an interview,” and what he described as other actions by the Paris government that contradict Niamey’s interests.
In turn, the French Foreign Ministry confirmed that it had been informed of the military council’s decision, but made it clear that “the putschists do not have the capacity to submit this request, and the ambassador’s approval comes only from the elected legitimate Nigerian authorities.” “We are constantly assessing the security and operational conditions of our embassy,” she added.
Since the beginning of the coup, popular anger has escalated in Niger at France’s interference in internal affairs, as the country witnessed several popular demonstrations condemning France’s threat of military intervention to return Bazoum to power.
In a related context, the World Organization of the Tijani Order called, on Sunday, the Economic Community of West African States “ECOWAS” not to interfere in Niger “militarily.” This came in a message from the President of the Organization, Prof. Abdullah Al-Okini, and its Secretary-General, Prof. Mustafa Gwadabi, to the Nigerian President of ECOWAS, Paula Tinubu.
“The crisis must be approached with caution and maturity so that it does not cause further hardship and economic turmoil for the people of Niger, and for those living in Nigeria around the border with Niger,” the organization said. “People are really going through difficult times and need sympathy rather than dragging them into war,” the letter said.
“Although military intervention in Niger’s politics is not a welcome development, the use of military force to restore the deposed government will only lead to more chaos,” the organization said.
The Sufi Islamic Organization is active in West African countries, led by Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia, Mali and Chad.
ECOWAS had given the military council in Niger a deadline that expired on August 6 to release President Mohamed Bazoum and restore him to power. by his position.
The ECOWAS countries, in addition to international bodies, most notably the United States, France and the United Nations, are calling on the leaders of the Nigerien coup to release President Bazoum and restore him to his position, from which he was removed in a military coup on July 26, led by the head of the Presidential Guard Unit, General Abd al-Rahman Chiani, while he clings to The military council to enter a 3-year transitional period.