The military government in Niger Republic has disclosed an alleged plot by its colonial master, France, aided by countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to invade the country in the wake of a recent coup.
Paris has been at loggerheads with the Niger junta since the July 26 coup that ousted the country’s democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum.
France has repeatedly called for the reinstatement of Bazoum as the only solution to the political debacle created by the putsch, a position strongly backed by ECOWAS, which has even gone ahead to activate its standby force for possible deployment in the West African nation.
Even though things appeared to have cooled off regarding the proposed ECOWAS military action against Niger following a series of diplomatic interventions, the junta has called attention to an underground move by France to stage an invasion.
In a statement broadcast on national television late Saturday, September 9, 2023, spokesman for the coupists, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, said, “France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger, which it is planning in collaboration with this community organisation.”
According to Abdramane, France had deployed military aircraft, helicopters and 40 armoured vehicles to Cote d’Ivoire and Benin.
“Military cargo aircraft have enabled large quantities of war material and equipment to be unloaded in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Benin, to name but a few,” he added.
Recall that on August 3, 2023, the Niger junta renounced several military cooperation agreements with France, which has about 1,500 soldiers stationed in the country as part of a wider fight against militants.
The coup leaders maintained that France’s forces are now “illegally” stationed in Niger.