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The French ambassador to Niger was “held hostage” in the embassy, ​​according to President Macron

President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France’s envoy to Niger is living as a hostage in the French embassy and accused the military rulers of blocking the delivery of food to the mission.

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The ambassador lives on “military rations”, Macron he told reporters in the eastern city of Semur-en-Auxois.

“As we speak, we have an ambassador and diplomatic staff who are literally being held hostage in the French embassy,” he said.

“They are preventing the delivery of food,” he said, in an apparent reference to Nigerit’s new military rulers. “He’s eating military rations.”

Niger’s military leaders told the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, to do so leave the country after overthrowing the president Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

Read moreFewer drones, air assets: France plans to reduce military presence in Niger

But a 48-hour ultimatum for him to leave, issued in August, passed with him still in effect, as the French government refused to comply or recognize the military regime as legitimate.

The coup d’état has been convicted of France and most of Niger’s neighbors.

Macron said the envoy “cannot go out, is persona non grata and is denied food.”

Asked if France would consider bringing him home, Macron said: “I will do what we agree with President Bazoum because he is the legitimate authority and I talk to him every day.”

France maintains about 1,500 troops in Niger and said earlier this month that any redeployment could only be negotiated with Bazoum.

The country’s new leaders have broken military cooperation agreements with France and called on troops to leave quickly.

Macron has for weeks rejected calls to sack the French ambassador, a stance backed by the EU which has called the demand a “provocation”.

Like France, EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said last month, the EU “does not recognize” the authorities that seized power in Niger.

The impoverished Sahel The sub-Saharan region has suffered what Macron has called an “epidemic” of coups in recent years, with military regimes replacing elected governments in evil, Burkina Faso and Guinea as well as Niger.



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