In spite of the coup in the West African nation, Aichatou Boulama Kane, Niger’s ambassador to France, asserted on Friday that she was still in her position and that she was still loyal to President Mohamed Bazoum, who is currently arrested.
Kane, who has been working in her current position since July 2022, said she rejected as “null and void” a directive from the coup leaders to revoke her mandate as well as the mandates of the Niger ambassadors to Nigeria, Togo, and the United States.
“I am still the ambassador of legitimate President Mohamed Bazoum and I consider myself as such,” she said
The notification by the putschists to put an end to her mandate “was taken by illegitimate authorities. I am the ambassador of Niger in France,” she added.
She said she had received the notification from the coup leaders “by letter”, with the putschists designating a charge d’affaires to replace her — the first counsellor of the Niger embassy in France.
“I told the first counsellor that I reject this decision,” she said.
“I am currently in my office; President Bazoum called me yesterday to tell me ‘go to your office, you have my confidence and we will continue the work’,” she added.
Since the day of the putsch on July 26, Bazoum, 63, has been held captive in his presidential mansion together with his family.
According to Bazoum first lengthy statement since his detention — Bazoum described himself as a “hostage” and said if successful the coup will have “devastating consequences for our country, our region and the entire world”.
He called on “the US government and the entire international community to help us restore our constitutional order.”
Aichatou Boulama Kane also criticized the coup leaders’ decision to halt military cooperation with France, calling it “illegal” and “proof of their intention to compel France to leave Niger.”
In the fight against jihadism in the Sahel, she said that military collaboration between France and Niger had been “going very well” and that any withdrawal of France’s 1,500-person force would be a “grave step back for our country in terms of security.”
The junta said late on Thursday that it was breaking off military agreements with France and Niger, blaming the latter’s “careless” behavior and response to the issue.