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October 11, 2023

Niger military rulers order UN official out within 72 hours

Niger military regime orders expulsion of French envoy

File image of jubilation in support of the coupists.

Niger’s post-coup military rulers have demanded in a statement seen by AFP on Wednesday that the United Nations coordinator in the West African country leave Niger within 72 hours.

The foreign ministry said in the statement dated Tuesday that the government had ordered Louise Aubin, the UN’s resident and humanitarian coordinator, “to take all necessary measures to leave Niamey within 72 hours”.

It pointed to “obstacles” which it said were presented by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “with a view to thwarting the full and complete participation of Niger” at last month’s UN General Assembly.

The military regime has already criticised “the perfidious actions” of the UN chief, saying that they were “likely to undermine any effort to end the crisis in our country”.

Bakary Yaou Sangare, who before the coup was Niger’s ambassador to the UN and is now its foreign minister, was the new leaders’ chosen representative for the gathering.

But, according to a diplomatic source, there was also an application by the overthrown government to represent Niamey.

Because of the competing credentials, the matter was deferred and no representative from Niger was added to the speakers’ list.

The decision to expel the UN official comes as France is withdrawing its 1,400-strong contingent in Niger after being ordered out by the coup leaders.

France’s ambassador to Niger was also given his marching orders after the coup that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum, an ally of Paris.

Vanguard News