Niger’s recently established junta made allegations on Monday, claiming that former colonial power France seeks to “militarily intervene” in order to restore deposed President Mohamed Bazoum to power.
“In its search for ways and means to intervene militarily in Niger, France with the complicity of some Nigeriens, held a meeting with the chief of staff of the Nigerien national guard to obtain the necessary political and military authorisation needed,” said a statement read out on national television.
The coup leaders released another statement, where they alleged that the security services of an unidentified Western embassy used teargas on Sunday against demonstrators supporting the coup in the capital, Niamey.
According to the report, six individuals were hospitalized following the incident.
After thousands of Nigeriens rallied outside the French embassy, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged “immediate” action in case of any attacks on French citizens or interests in Niger.
As the continent becomes a renewed diplomatic battleground with the rise of Russian and Chinese influence, some former African colonies are experiencing heightened anti-French sentiment.
With approximately 1,500 troops stationed in the West African nation, France maintains one of its last allies in the Sahel region, especially after the withdrawal of French forces from neighboring Mali earlier this year.