The Niger military junta that seized power last week and ousted democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum, on Monday (July 31) alleged that the toppled government had authorised France to carry out strikes at the presidency to try to free Bazoum.

The military junta, which has confined Bazoum to the presidential palace since Wednesday, has previously warned against foreign attempts to extract him, saying it would result in bloodshed and chaos.

The military’s comments were made by army Colonel Amadou Abdramane, one of the coup plotters, on state television.

France has condemned the coup and urged that Bazoum be reinstated but has not announced any intention to intervene militarily.

The coup in Niger followed military takeovers in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso over the last two years, all of which have come amid a wave of anti-French sentiment.

France has had troops in the region for a decade helping to fight an Islamist insurgency, but some locals say they want the former colonial ruler to stop intervening in their affairs.

Niger has been a key ally in Western campaigns against insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel, and there are concerns the coup could open the door to greater Russian influence in the region, and also allow the insurgency to spread.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS has imposed sanctions and said it could authorize the use of force if Niger’s coup leaders fail to reinstate ousted president Bazoum within a week.

Source: africanews

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