Niger: We strongly support bid to defeat coupists, France tells ECOWAS

Catherine Colonna, the French minister for Europe and foreign affairs, says France is “strongly” in support of efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to “defeat” the coup in the Niger Republic.

Colonna spoke on Saturday when she visited Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, prime minister of the Niger Republic, at Quai d’Orsay.

The French minister was accompanied by Aichatou Boulama, France’s ambassador to Niger.

On July 25, a coup was staged in Niger, leading to the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum and other political leaders from office.

Abdourahmane Tiani, former head of Bazoum’s presidential guard, later declared himself as the head of state.

President Bola Tinubu, chairperson of ECOWAS, had subsequently said military force would be deployed to Niger if Bazoum is not reinstated in one week.

Commenting on the series of events on Saturday, the French minister called on the coup plotters to immediately return to democratic rule.

“France strongly and firmly supports ECOWAS’s efforts to defeat this coup attempt,” she said.

Colonna said France remains committed to the future of Niger and the stability of the entire region.

“ECOWAS gave the putschists a seven-day deadline to end their coup. It expires tomorrow, Sunday, August 6,” she said.

“France solemnly calls on those responsible for this coup attempt to release President Bazoum and all members of his government, and to allow the immediate return to constitutional and democratic order.”