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Niger coup: Nigerian ambassador denies expulsion by junta

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The Nigerian ambassador to the Republic of Niger, Mohammed Usman, has debunked the rumour that he was given 48 hours to leave the country by the military junta that seized power on July 26.

He confirmed in a phone interview on Saturday that the report was false.

 

I was not given any ultimatum to leave the country. The report is false,” he said.

 

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The rumour had circulated online on Friday night and Saturday morning, claiming that the junta had expelled Usman for failing to attend a meeting without explanation.

 

However, the junta had only ordered the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, to leave the country within 48 hours. The Nigerien foreign ministry said that the decision was based on Itte’s refusal to honour an invitation from Niger’s foreign minister and other actions by France that were contrary to Niger’s interests.

 

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The junta had accused France, the former colonial power in Niger, of freeing captured “terrorists” and violating a ban on the air space in an attempt to destabilize the country. France had condemned the coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and called for an immediate return to constitutional order.

 

The junta had also accused the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of aligning its troops with a foreign entity, which it did not name.

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