The military leaders who took over power in Niamey on July 26 have ordered the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, to leave Niger Republic within 48 hours, according to a statement from Niger’s foreign ministry.
The decision comes after the ambassador “refused to respond to an invitation” for a Friday meeting and following actions by the French government “contrary to the interests of Niger.”
The expulsion follows a rise in anti-France sentiment after the Nigerien army ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, who is now detained along with his family.
The military rulers accuse France of wanting to use military force to reinstate Bazoum and claim that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is under French influence.
ECOWAS has slapped Niger with hefty economic sanctions and warned of potential military action to restore constitutional order.
France currently has about 1,500 troops in Niger to help combat jihadist groups affecting the country and the broader Sahel region.
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