French President Emmanuel Macron has stated that France’s ambassador to Niger is effectively living like a hostage in the French embassy, alleging that the military rulers in Niger are blocking food deliveries to the mission.
The ambassador, Sylvain Itte, was told by Niger’s military leaders to leave the country after they overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum in July. However, the French government refused to comply or recognize the military regime as legitimate.
Macron has emphasized the need to work with President Bazoum, the legitimate authority, and stated that he speaks with him regularly.
France maintains about 1,500 soldiers in Niger, and any redeployment would need to be negotiated with Bazoum. Macron’s stance on retaining the French ambassador has been supported by the EU, which also does not recognize the new authorities in Niger.