The military leadership of Niger Republic has described the recent remark of French President Emmanuel Macron on the ongoing political crisis in the West African Country as a statement intended to create an inter-ethnic conflict.
Macron boasted that French military operations in the Sahel region ensured the survival of the African countries, adding that “there would probably no longer be a Mali…Burkina Faso, and I’m not sure there would still be Niger.”
Macron was referring to the former colonial power’s interventions in the mid-2000s, Operations Serval and Barkhane in an interview with French publication Le Point.
French troops were moved from Mali to Niger after its military leaders cut ties with the former colonial power.
He said the interventions were done “at the request of African states” and were “successful” as his policy is facing scrutiny in the face of losing the allyship of last remaining ally, Niger, and increasing negative sentiment from Africans.
Reacting to this via a communique released on Friday, the Niger junta under the leadership of General Abdourahamane Tchiani described Macron’s statement as an indication that the ousted democratic government was serving the interests of France at the detriment of the Niger Republic people.
The communique reads: “Government of the Republic of Niger followed with dismay the remarks made on Monday, August 28, 2023 by the President of the French Republic on the occasion of his address to the Ambassadors and Ambassadors of France.
“As these comments constitute a flagrant additional interference in Niger’s internal affairs, the CNSP and the government would like to make the following observations:
“First, they aim to infantilise African Heads of State by agitating, without taking into account the differences between national contexts, the psychosis of a regional risk of contagion of military putschs. He thus thinks of frightening them and instrumentalizing ECOWAS to force them to join the neocolonialist project of another age of invasion of Niger;
“Second, these words aim to fabricate an artificial ethnic division to oppose Nigeriens to each other and create the conditions for an interethnic conflict; like what has happened in some African countries and which has been provoked by this kind of manipulation.
“Thirdly, contrary to the macronian rhetoric of saying that the military have abandoned the fight against terrorism for the privileges of power in Niamey, our Defence and Security Forces are more committed than ever to continuing their fierce fight against the terrorist forces supported by France, which until now claimed to help us in this fight.
“Fourth, these comments aim to perpetuate at all costs the boss-client relations to which the deceased regime has subjected Niger in relation to France. Mr. Macron does not even hesitate to present the former authorities to the face of the world as his puppets by justifying the support he gives them by their
“international commitment on all the agendas that are those of France”. This admission proves, if necessary, that the deceased regime was in service Foreign agendas to the detriment and interest of Niger.
“Neither Africans, nor the Nigerien people, nor even the French people are fooled. Mr. Macron’s words and his incessant efforts in favour of an invasion of Niger aim to perpetuate a neocolonial grip on the Nigerien people who ask for nothing other than to now decide for themselves their destiny.
“These remarks, unexpected on the part of a head of state, do not contribute to the search for rational solutions to the dispute between us. The Government of the Republic of Niger and the CNSP repeat that this dispute concerns neither the relations between our peoples, nor the individuals, but the relevance of the French military presence in Niger and the establishment of respectful and mutually beneficial relations of which the Nigerien authorities, supported by the people, have now made a cardinal principle of their international relations.
“With the support of the Nigerien people, the only judge of their legitimacy, the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland (CNSP) and the Government are determined to oppose any paternalism and interventionism of a forever-foregone era and intend to work for the establishment of a new win-win order and respectful of the dignity of all peoples and the sovereignty of all States.”