NIAMEY-The leader of the coup that toppled Niger’s president said Thursday that French citizens had no reason to quit the country, but rejected international sanctions, vowing not to bow to “threats”.
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders have imposed trade and financial sanctions and threatened the use of force if the junta does not restore ousted President Mohamed Bazoum by Sunday.
Responding to the international sanctions imposed in response to the coup, General Abdourahamane Tiani said the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) “rejects these sanctions as a whole and refuses to give in to any threat, wherever it comes from”.
Speaking in a televised address, General Tiani said the sanctions were “cynical and iniquitous” and designed to “humiliate” the defence and security forces and Niger, and make the country “ungovernable”. French people in Niger had never been subjected “to the least threat”, he added. Democratically elected Bazoum, 63, was overthrown on July 26 when members of his own guard detained him at the presidency.
“We refuse any interference in the internal affairs of Niger,” General Tiani said in a speech made on the eve of the country’s independence day. He reiterated in the speech that the deterioration of security in Niger had prompted the military to seize power.
US orders partial
evacuation of embassy
The United States on Wednesday ordered a partial evacuation of its embassy in Niger, the State Department said, a week after the fragile nation was rocked by a coup. “On August 2, 2023, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and eligible family members from Embassy Niamey,” an updated US travel advisory for Niger said.
The advisory warned US citizens “not to travel to Niger,” but stopped short of advising all Americans to leave the landlocked African country.
“The U.S. Embassy in Niamey has temporarily reduced its personnel, suspended routine services, and is only able to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Niger,” the advisory added. The United States has strongly condemned the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum but, unlike France and other European countries, did not order evacuations or suspend its aid to Niger, which is worth several hundred million dollars. “The United States rejects all efforts to overturn Niger’s constitutional order, and stands with the people of Niger ... in support of democratic governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement late Wednesday. He added that the US remains “diplomatically engaged at the highest levels.” Earlier, he told a State Department briefing that there was no indication of threats targeting Americans in Niger or American facilities such as the embassy, saying that the situation in Niamey was “calm” and “fluid.” About 1,000 US troops are stationed in Niger, where they were helping the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, combat a regional Islamist insurgency.
Bazoum was overthrown on July 26 when members of his own guard detained him at the presidency.