France’s top diplomat to Niger says he’s “tired”, after two months of “extreme tension” and several weeks confined to his embassy in Niamey before being kicked out the country.
Now back in Paris, Ambassador Sylvain Itté told the TF1 TV channel on Thursday evening that the coup in Niger was an “enormous mess” in which “there are only losers”.
“This putsch is first and foremost a Nigerien affair, between a president who had decided to fight corruption and a certain number of generals who didn’t want this fight against corruption to go all the way,” he added.
Nigerien companies delivering supplies to the embassy were “dissuaded, even threatened” by the new power, and eventually stopped coming, said Mr Itté.
“We had to take out the rubbish without our junta friends noticing,” he said. “It was a question of getting food and water in, again using ingenuity.”
The ambassador also commented on the demonstration that targeted the French embassy on 30 July, a few days after the coup:
“The attack lasted over two-and-a-half hours. That day, we were collectively in danger and we came very, very close to a tragedy, because there were more than 6,000 people who were there to fight, who were there to break into the embassy.”
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