The French president, Emmanuel Macron, declared today that the ambassador to Niger has been taken “hostage” by the military in power and that he is only fed with “military rations”. “In Niger, as I speak to you, we have an ambassador and some diplomats who are literally hostage in the French embassy,” Macron said during a visit to Semur-en-Auxois, in central-eastern France.
At the end of August, expulsion was ordered
In Niger, the military who overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum and took power on July 26 had ordered the expulsion of the French ambassador at the end of August, after Paris’ refusal to comply with the ultimatum calling for his exit from the country. France continues to oppose the ambassador’s departure, saying the ruling government has no authority to make such a request. The ambassador, Sylvain Itté, “no longer has the possibility of going out”, added Macron, “he has been declared ‘persona non grata’ and is refused food”. When asked about a possible repatriation of the diplomat, the French president reiterated: “I will do what we agree together with President Bazoum, because he is the legitimate authority and I speak with him every day.”