President Macron Reveals French Ambassador In Niger Has Been Taken ‘Hostage’

Image of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Image of French President Emmanuel Macron. Credit: Victor Velter/

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron revealed this Friday, September 15, that the French ambassador to Niger had been taken ‘hostage’ by the ruling military.

At the end of August, the military ordered the expulsion of the French ambassador after they overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

This occurred after Paris refused to comply with an ultimatum demanding his departure. France has since continued to oppose this departure, arguing that this government had no authority to base such a request.

During a trip to Semur-en -Auxois on the Côte-d’Or in east-central France, Macron announced: ‘In Niger, as I speak, we have an ambassador and members of the diplomatic corps who are literally being held hostage in the French embassy. We are preventing food from being delivered. He is eating military rations’, as reported by

Sylvain Itté is ‘Persona non grata’ in Niger

Macron explained: ‘Ambassador Sylvain Itté no longer has the possibility of going out, he is persona non grata and we refuse to allow him to eat’, insisted Emmanuel Macron.

Asked about a possible repatriation of the ambassador to Paris, the head of state reiterated: ‘I will do what we agree with President Bazoum because he is the legitimate authority and I speak to him every day’.

Mohamed Bazoum is still considered by France to be the legitimate head of state of Niger. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, Sylvain Itté is: ‘Very useful to us through his contacts, through those of his team, there is still a small team around him. He stays as long as we want him to stay. It is a decision that belongs to the President of the Republic’.

On September 10, Emmanuel Macron stressed that a possible redeployment of French forces stationed in Niger would only be decided at the request of President Bazoum.

Niger’s military are banking on French troops pulling out

The new power in place has denounced the military cooperation agreements with France and is said to be banking on: ‘The rapid departure’ of some 1,500 French soldiers present in the country.

Emmanuel Macron also confirmed that France: ‘will continue to welcome, obviously’ artists from the Sahel while voices were raised in the world of culture against an administration directive requesting the suspension of all collaboration with artists from Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

However, he conceded that for Nigerien artists who do not yet have their visa, the situation looks complicated because access to French consular services is no longer possible. ‘It’s not that we’re banning it, it’s that we can’t give it because of the putschists and for security reasons’, the President explained.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


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