Niger’s Junta has ordered its troops to go on the highest alert, due to the alleged “increased threat of attack” by ECOWAS, according to an internal document issued by its defense chief on Friday that a security source in the country confirmed was authentic.
The document said: “Threats of aggression to the national territory are increasingly being felt,”. On Friday, ECOWAS downplayed the danger, saying it was “determined to bend backward to accommodate diplomatic efforts,” however, intervention remains an option.
ECOWAS Commission President Omar Alieu Touray told reporters: “For the avoidance of doubt, let me state unequivocally that ECOWAS has neither declared war on the people of Niger nor is there a plan, as it is being purported, to invade the country,”.
Niger’s Junta ordered French ambassador to leave the country
On Friday, the Junta ordered the French ambassador in Niamey Sylvain Itte to leave the country within 48 hours, according to the Nigerien Foreign Ministry.
In a statement published by state-run television ORTN, the Nigerien Foreign Ministry said that Ambassador Itte had refused to attend a meeting scheduled for Friday with the country’s foreign minister.
The ministry said Nigerien authorities had withdrawn Itte’s credentials in light of the refusal, also citing “other actions by the French government that are against Niger’s interest”.
“France has taken note of the putschists’ request,” the French Foreign Ministry told AFP later on Friday. “The putschists do not have the authority to make this demand, the ambassador’s approval comes only from the legitimate, elected Nigerien authorities,” the ministry added.