July 17, 2024

France planning to attack Niger presidential palace to free Bazoum, coup makers

3 min read
France planning to attack Niger presidential palace to free Bazoum, coup makers

Niger coup makers say ousted government has ‘authorised France attack presidential palace to free Bazoum’

Niger coup makers say ousted government has ‘authorised France attack presidential palace to free Bazoum’

The leaders of the coup who overthrew the government of Niger claim that the overthrown government gave France approval to attack the presidential palace in an effort to free President Mohamed Bazoum.

The claims were made on Monday by Colonel Amadou Abdramane, one of the coup plotters, on state television. 

He said that acting prime minister Hassoumi Massoudou signed the authorization.

 The claims could not however be independently verified.

Former colonial power in Niger, France, has denounced the coup and called for Bazoum to be reinstated but has not yet indicated that it will act militarily.

The French foreign ministry did neither confirm or refute the claims that it had authorized strikes but instead stated that Bazoum was the sole legal authority it recognized in Niger.

It also told Reuters news agency that “our priority is the security of our citizens and our facilities, which cannot be targeted by violence, according to international law.”

The presidential guard, which seized power last week after blocking Bazoum inside the palace in the capital, Niamey, has warned against foreign attempts to extract the president, saying it would result in bloodshed and chaos.

Abdramane’s comments also come a day after the 15-nation regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded that Bazoum be reinstated within a week at an emergency summit in neighbouring Nigeria.

The bloc said it would take “all measures” to restore constitutional order otherwise.

“Such measures may include the use of force for this effect,” it said in a statement.

Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby visited Niamey on Sunday as an ECOWAS envoy and posted photos of separate meetings with Bazoum and Omar Tchiani, the head of the presidential guard who has been named head of state.

ECOWAS also imposed strict sanctions, including suspending all commercial and financial transactions between its member states and Niger and freezing of assets in regional central banks.

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Economic sanctions could have a deep impact on Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries which relies on imports from Nigeria for up to 90 percent of its power, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The sanctions could be disastrous and Niger needs to find a solution to avoid them, Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou told French media outlet Radio France Internationale on Sunday.

“When people say there’s an embargo, land borders are closed, air borders are closed, it’s extremely difficult for people … Niger is a country that relies heavily on the international community,” he said.

Landlocked Niger has had a turbulent political history since gaining independence in 1960. 

Before Wednesday, there had been four coups and numerous other attempts, including two previously against Bazoum.

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