Following the July coup, Niger’s new military authorities claimed that France was assembling troops for a potential military intervention in the nation. Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, stated on Sunday that he would only act in response to Mohamed Bazoum, the deposed leader of Niger.
Maj. Amadou Abdramane, a spokesman for the Niger junta, stated that France is also considering working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional organization.
In a statement that was shown on state television late Saturday, Abdramane said that “France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger.”
When questioned about it following the Group of 20 conference, Macron said he wouldn’t explicitly address the junta’s assertion.
“We will only redeploy anything at Bazoum’s request and in coordination with him, not with those who are holding a president hostage,” he stated.
Macron did, however, add that France “fully” supports ECOWAS’ stance, which has stated that it is considering using military force to restore Bazoum to his role as president.
Since overthrowing Bazoum, the junta in Niger, a former French colony, has used populace anti-French sentiment to shore up its support in defiance of regional and international efforts to restore the president. This includes demanding the French ambassador and troops to depart. In the conflict-ridden Sahel area, an arid region below the Sahara Desert, the nation had been a crucial ally of France and the West in the fight against rising Islamic militancy.
The junta spokesman said that France had sent military planes and armored vehicles to nations like the Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Benin in preparation for such aggression; however, The Associated Press was unable to independently confirm this assertion.
The transitional government and the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland “launch a solemn appeal to the great people of Niger to be vigilant and never to demobilize until the inevitable withdrawal of French troops from our territory,” he said.
Col. Pierre Gaudilliere, a spokesman for the French military, stated on Thursday that there are currently “a little less” than 1,500 French troops in Niger, who had been collaborating with Nigerien security forces to quell the terrorist bloodshed.
Since the coup, all French efforts have been put on hold; as a result, earlier French announcements have focused on figuring out what to do with their skills, according to Gaudilliere.