Niger junta cancels military cooperation agreements with France as Biden calls for Bazoum’s immediate release
In the highest-profile statement by the US since a coup that removed Niger’s elected president from power, Joe Biden has called for the immediate release of Mohamed Bazoum and his family and the preservation of the country’s hard-earned democracy.
The US stands with the people of Niger in this critical moment “to honour our decades-long partnership rooted in shared democratic values and support for civilian-led governance,” the US president said in a statement on Thursday, the 63rd anniversary of Niger’s independence.
Niger Junta Revokes Military Deals With France
Bazoum called himself a hostage in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Thursday, as he urged the international community to intervene and restore constitutional order. If it succeeds, the coup will have devastating consequences for the region, he stressed.
Late on Thursday, the Niger junta revoked five military deals with France, dating between 1977 and 2020, with the decision about the cancellation read out on national television by junta representative Amadou Abdramane.
Niger currently has between 1,000 to 1,500 French troops helping fight Islamist insurgent groups. The West African country also brought an end to broadcasts of French state-funded international news outlets RFI and France24, drawing intense condemnation.
Tchiani’s Strong Warnings Against Foreign Meddling And Intervention
The coup, launched against Bazoum by a faction in the military on July 26, was the seventh in the west and central Africa region since 2020. Meanwhile, Senegal said it would participate if the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to intervene militarily.
In one of few statements made since seizing power, Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani warned against foreign meddling. He described the sanctions ECOWAS imposed after the coup as unprecedented, unfair, illegal and inhuman.
The fierce warning from Tchiani came as a fourth French military evacuation flight left the country, after Spain, Italy and France announced evacuations of Europeans in Niamey, the capital. The US has also ordered a temporary departure of nonessential embassy staff.