Niger regime fires new broadside at France for backing ousted Bazoum

Niger’s military regime has fired a new verbal broadside at France on Friday, accusing Paris of “blatant interference” by backing the country’s ousted president as protestors rallied near a French base outside the capital Niamey.

President Mohamed Bazoum, a French ally whose election in 2021 had stoked hopes of stability in the troubled country, was detained 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.

Comments by French President Emmanuel Macron in support of Bazoum “constitute further blatant interference in Niger’s domestic affairs,” regime spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdramane said in a statement read on nationwide TV.

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.”

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

On Friday, Macron paid further tribute to Bazoum, praising his “commitment, action and courage”.

He dismissed Niger’s rulers as having “no legitimacy” and insisted France would make its decisions with regard to Niger “on the basis of exchanges with President Bazoum”.

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

On August 3, the regime denounced military agreements with France, a move that Paris has ignored on the grounds of legitimacy.

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