Niger Republic Military Junta Accuses France Of Planning Strikes To Free Ousted President Bazoum | #NwokeukwuMascot
The junta seized power last week and ousted the democratically elected President Bazoum.
One of the coup leaders, army Colonel Amadou Abdramane, said on state television on Monday that the authorization was signed by Niger Foreign Affairs Minister Hassoumi Massoudou, who was acting as the prime minister, according to Reuters.
Massoudou could not be reached for comment.
Recall our ealier reports on how France condemned the coup and urged that Bazoum be reinstated but has not announced any intention to intervene militarily. Paris did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday, according to Reuters.
The military junta, which has confined Bazoum to the presidential palace since Wednesday, has previously warned against any foreign attempts to extract him, citing potential bloodshed and chaos.
The coup in Niger occurred after military takeovers in nearby Mali and Burkina Faso within the past two years. These events have been accompanied by a surge of anti-French sentiments.
France has had troops in the region for a decade, assisting in the fight against an Islamist insurgency. However, some locals express their desire for the former colonial ruler to cease intervening in their affairs.
Niger has been a key ally in Western campaigns against insurgents linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in the Sahel. There are concerns that the coup could open the door to greater Russian influence in the region and also allow the insurgency to spread.
Supporters of the junta burned French flags and attacked the French embassy in Niger's capital, Niamey, on Sunday, prompting tear gas from police.
The junta accused France in another statement of shooting at protesters and injuring six.
French president Emmanuel Macron said any attacks on French interests in Niger would be met with a "swift and uncompromising response."
West African regional bloc ECOWAS has imposed sanctions and stated that it could authorize the use of force if Niger's coup leaders do not reinstate ousted president Bazoum within a week.
Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby flew to Niger over the weekend to help mediate the crisis and posted pictures on social media showing him meeting with Bazoum and separately with coup leader Abdourahamane Tiani, whom the junta has declared as the head of state.