France is protesting a 48-hour sack order issued its ambassador by the Nigerien government, after its envoy, and those of Nigeria, the US, and Germany, were given same order to leave the troubled West African country.
The new twist comes as an unverified video emerged, showing dethroned President Mohamed Bazoum joining protests celebrating the sack of a former democratically elected president, Mamadou Tandja, by sodiers in a coup 13 years ago.
Below is the video:
Tandja was elected into Niger’s president in 1999 and ruled for over a decade until 2010. Reports said Tandja was commended for bringing stability to the country amid religious conflicts and was subsequently re-elected in 2004. An attempt to amend the Nigerien constitution to secure a third term after serving two successive presidential terms was his undoing. A military coup removed him in February of 2010 following waves of national anti-government protests. Mahamadou Issoufou assumed office in April 2011, a year after Tandja’s ousting, succeeded by Bazoum who was sacked through another coup on July 26, 2023 while serving his term in office.
The latest move by the Nigerien military rulers, issuing an eviction order to the ambassadors, is seen as part of comprehensive measures to cover its flanks from former friends now regarded as enemies, which may be spying on Niger, in preparation for attacks.
The statement announcing the sack of the ambassadors bore almost the same accusation of refusing to honour invitations from the host country, but suspicions are rife that the new friends of Niger, like Russia, may be the brains behind the latest action.
Below are excerpts of the statement sacking the envoys:
“In reaction to German Ambassador Olivier Schnakenberg’s refusal to reply to an invitation by the ministry for a discussion on Friday August 25 at 11.00 a.m., and due to other actions of the German government contrary to Niger’s interests, the ministry … is giving 48 hours to Mr. Olivier Schnakenberg’s to leave the Nigerien territory.”
“In reaction to Nigerian Ambassador Mohamed Usman’s refusal to reply to an invitation by the ministry for a discussion on Friday August 25 at 11.30 a.m., and due to other actions of the Nigerian government contrary to Niger’s interests, the ministry … is giving 48 hours to Mr. Mohamed Usman’s to leave the Nigerien territory.”
The government also gave the new US ambassador 48 hours to leave.
US Ambassador Kathleen Fitzgibbons, arrived Niamey last week, and was accused of the same offence.