Niger Junta Expels French Ambassador Itte, Gives 48 Hours To Leave The Country 

Sylvain Itte, the French ambassador, has been expelled from Niger by the country’s military leadership.
This comes as tensions between the west African nation and its international allies are rising.
Itte was given 48 hours to leave the country.
The decision to expel the ambassador was made as a result of his failure to accept an invitation, according to a statement released by Niger’s foreign ministry on Friday.
According to the statement, “other actions by the French government contrary to the interests of Niger” led to the ambassador’s withdrawal.
The foreign ministry did not offer any further information, though.
In an effort to destabilize the country, the junta had accused French forces of releasing imprisoned “terrorists” and violating the airspace restriction.
The country’s military had also accused the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of aligning its troops with a foreign entity whom it did not mention.
Niger, a former French colony, was France’s partner before last month’s coup in the fight against jihadi violence.
Niger’s junta also authorized troops from neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso to come to its defense, raising the stakes in a stand-off with other West African nations who are threatening to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
The junta leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, signed two executive orders authorizing the “security forces of Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene on Niger territory in the event of aggression,” senior junta official Oumarou Ibrahim Sidi said late on Thursday, after hosting a delegation from the two countries in the Nigerien capital, Niamey.
Sidi did not provide further details regarding the military support from the two countries, whose military regimes have said that any use of force by the West African bloc ECOWAS against the Niger junta would be considered an act of war against their own countries.
Before Mr. Bazoum’s ouster last month the West considered Niger to be its last significant ally in the fight against jihadi violence in the Sahel, an area below the Sahara Desert that is replete with anti-French sentiment.
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