Niger: will the putschists go so far as to expel the French ambassador manu militari?

William Molinié / Photo credits: AFP
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08:39, September 01, 2023

On Thursday, the military in power in Niger announced that they had “instructed the police services” in order to proceed with the “expulsion” of the French ambassador to Niamey, in a letter addressed to Paris. On the other hand, France remains firm so far and wants the diplomat to remain in his residence.

The military in power in Niger no longer want the French ambassador in Niamey. They made this known to Paris on Thursday in a letter, ordering his expulsion, after an ultimatum set by the junta expired on Monday. But Paris is so far closed, the diplomat remains for the moment in his residence…

“Nothing has been decided yet”

Accompanied by his bodyguard, three GIGN soldiers specializing in the protection of high personalities, the French ambassador, Sylvain Itté, no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity since Thursday. It was lifted for him and his family. In other words, outside the embassy, ​​he is considered a French national like any other. His car and luggage may be searched and he himself may be subject to restrictions of liberty.

The Nigerien police presence outside the embassy is increasingly strong, according to a diplomatic source. A way to keep the pressure on. But will the putschists go so far as to expel the French ambassador manu militari? In reality, “nothing has yet been decided”, assures Europe 1 a security source in Niamey.

For their part, the 1,500 French soldiers stationed at their base no longer go out. If they are no longer visible in the evening or on weekends in the streets of the city center, they are still ready, according to a senior officer, to “respond to possible violence against tricolor interests in the country. “.

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