June 17, 2024

Junta leaders accuse French forces of distabilising Niger, France denies 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 10, 2019 Soldiers from the French Army in Sahel monitor a rural area during the Bourgou IV operation in northern Burkina Faso, along the border with Mali and Niger. Burkina Faso has confirmed it is asking France to pull its troops out of the insurgency-hit country within a month, a government spokesman said on January 23, 2023. (Photo by MICHELE CATTANI / AFP)

Niger’s military junta accused the French forces of violating its airspace, attacking a military camp and releasing “terrorists” to undermine its territorial integrity.

The Abdourahmane Tchiani-led junta disclosed this as the military officers met with delegates sent to Niamey by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria ahead of the ECOWAS meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

The spokesperson for the junta, Amadou Abdramane, said in a video without offering evidence that the French were planning to distabilise Niger.

The accusation has further heightened tensions ahead of a summit of leaders from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS who are expected to consider options including military action against the junta.

While reacting to the allegations, the French foreign ministry said its aircraft was operating under an existing agreement with Niger forces.

Paris added that its troops were in the west African nation at the request of legitimate authorities and rejected all the allegations.

ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations and Western countries including the United States have pressured the junta to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum while Mali and Burkina Faso have vowed to defend it in case a military intervention is deployed as threatened by the regional bloc.

Afrirepoters earlier reported that the US and the UN have raised concerns about the state of health of the deposed leader.

Mr Bazoum, according to his party, had no running water, no electricity and no access to fresh goods or doctors.

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