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Niger. The junta put the armed forces on high alert for fear of outside intervention

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The head of defense of the junta in Niger put the armed forces on high alert, citing an increased threat of attack, Reuters reported on Saturday. On the same day, several thousand people gathered in Niamey to show support for the military regime, which the previous day demanded that the French ambassador leave the country within 48 hours, AFP reported.

According to an internal document issued on Friday by the junta’s defense chief V Nigerthe authenticity of which was confirmed by sources, it put the armed forces on the highest combat readiness, Reuters reported on Saturday.

The document, which was widely shared online, said the order to be on maximum alert would allow the military to react appropriately in the event of any attack and “prevent general surprise.” “The threat of aggression against the country’s territory is increasingly felt,” warns the junta.

Anti-French sentiment is growing in NigerISSIFOU DJIBO/PAP/EPA

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Rally in support of the decision to expel the French ambassador

Several thousand people gathered in Niamey on Saturday to show support for the military regime. Seyni Kountche Stadium, the largest in Niger with a capacity of 30,000 people, it was two-thirds full and dominated by the noise from the vuvuzela, reports AFP. Niger flags hang in the stands, Algeria and Russia, and acrobats painted in the colors of the national flag perform in the middle of an empty field.

Model Ramatou Ibrahim Boubacar in the national colors – wearing a green, white and orange scarf, said: “We have the right to choose the partners we want, France must respect this choice“For 60 years, we have never been independent, we are independent only from the day of the coup d’état on July 26, so we are 100 percent for the CNSP,” she added.

Rally in support of the decision to expel the French ambassadorISSIFOU DJIBO/PAP/EPA

This new rally in support of the CNSP comes a day after the expulsion of the French ambassador from Niger, ordering him to leave the country in 48 hours. This decision was immediately rejected by Paris. “The putschists have no power,” replied the French Foreign Ministry.

“The French ambassador, instead of leaving, thinks it’s his parents’ land,” said Idrissa Halidou, a health worker and CNSPN member, to rally attendees. “We are a nation of warriors, we are ready to fight against ECOWAS forces,” she added.

Coup d’état in Niger and fears of military intervention

The main West African bloc, ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), tried to negotiate with the leaders of the July 26 coup. He even stated that he was ready to deploy his troops to restore constitutional order if diplomatic efforts failed.

On Monday, the bloc rejected the idea of ​​a three-year transition period in Niger, proposed by the military junta that took power in late July. Thus, the option of a military intervention became more and more likely, the date of which, although not made public, was agreed by West African countries on Friday, before the negotiations with the junta.

On Thursday, the leader of the junta in Niger, General Abdourahamane Tiani, authorized the Mali armed forces and Burkina Faso to intervene in the territory of Niger in the event of an attack by West African forces.

On Friday, ECOWAS said it was “determined to step back to accommodate diplomatic efforts,” although military intervention remains one of the options under consideration.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state unequivocally that ECOWAS has not declared war on the people of Niger, nor is there a plan, it is claimed, to invade that country,” ECOWAS Commission chairman Omar Alieu Touray told reporters.

The bloc’s decision in August to deploy a so-called standby force for a possible intervention raised fears of an escalation that could further destabilize the rebel-torn Sahel region.

Main photo source: ISSIFOU DJIBO/PAP/EPA

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