Niger’s National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) has reportedly demanded the complete withdrawal of French troops from the West African country by September 3.
Earlier, Saudi media reported the CNSP had announced the annulment of all security and military agreements with France.
By the end of the week, supporters of the pullout are going to stage an indefinite protest against the presence of the French military in Niger. Some residents have reportedly demanded that the authorities cut water and power supply to the French base, as well as halt food deliveries.
On July 26, Niger’s presidential guard ousted and detained President Mohamed Bazoum. The guard’s commander, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, proclaimed himself the president of the caretaker CNSP-led government. Most Western countries as well as ECOWAS condemned it. In early August, ECOWAS adopted a plan for a potential military intervention in Niger.
Niger Police Ordered To Expel French Ambassador
Earlier media reports said:
Niger’s new military government said it has revoked the diplomatic immunity of France’s ambassador Sylvain Itte and has ordered police to deport him, after a 48-hour deadline for him to leave expired on Monday.
In a statement addressed to Paris on Thursday, Niamey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Itte “no longer enjoys the privileges and immunities attached to his status as a member of the diplomatic staff of the French Embassy.”
Last week, the military leaders who seized power from President Mohamed Bazoum in a coup on July 26, gave the French ambassador two days to depart the country.
The envoy had declined an invitation to meet with the new rulers, the Nigerien Foreign Ministry said on Friday. It also cited “other actions” of the French government, described as “contrary” to Niger’s interests, as reasons for the envoy’s expulsion.
France has refused to recall the diplomat from its former colony, instead stating that, despite pressure from “illegitimate authorities,” the ambassador will remain in Niamey.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron eiterated that Paris recognizes only ousted President Bazoum as the legitimate authority in the West African country.
Macron commended Itte and other French ambassadors for their commitments despite the “difficult situations” that Paris has faced in some of its former colonies in recent months.
However, the Nigerien foreign ministry in its latest statement said the envoy’s “diplomatic cards and visas” as well as those of his family members “are cancelled” as the ultimatum expired on August 28.
“The police have been instructed to carry out his expulsion,” the ministry added.
France’s foreign ministry insisted on Thursday that the coup leaders do not have the authority to ask the ambassador to leave. Colonel Pierre Gaudilliere, a spokesperson for the French general staff, also warned that Paris’ forces “are ready to respond to any increase in tension that would undermine French military and diplomatic influence in Nigeer.”
Niger Leadership Reportedly Suspends UN, NGO Work In Military Zones
Another media report said:
The Niger government of Niger announced Thursday that the work of international organizations and UN agencies is prohibited in the areas of military operations.
The statement through the Interior Ministry was reportedly relayed to the wider public via broadcast on national radio.
“Due to the current security situation and the ongoing implementation of the tasks set by the armed forces of Niger, the Ministry of Internal Affairs informs international organizations, national and international NGOs and UN agencies present in Niger that their activities and movements in the areas of [military] operations are temporarily suspended,” the Nigerien Ministry of the Interior said in a statement, cited by French media.
The statement did not specify which districts of the country the decree concerns.