French Official Released by Niger Security Forces


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Stephane Jullien, a French official who had been held by security forces in Niger has been released on Thursday, September 14, 2023. This was revealed by France’s Foreign Ministry.

According to the Paris Foreign Ministry, Jullien an advisor to the French nationals in Niger had been arrested by Niger security forces on Friday, September 8, 2023.

The ministry had called for his immediate release on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, but did not provide details of his arrest.

Niger’s ruling junta in August ordered police to expel France’s Ambassador in a move marking a further downturn in relations between France and its former colony.

Jullien is an elected official who represents French expatriates and works closely with the country’s embassies and consulates.

Paris, however, said that the army officers who seized power in Niger’s capital-Niamey in late July 2023, had no authority to expel the French ambassador.

Relations between Niger and France went downhill after the July 26, 2023, coup which ousted French ally, President Mohamed Bazoum.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron refused to acknowledge the military government’s authority demanding it to reinstate Mohamed Bazoum as leader and defied orders to remove the Ambassador with 1,500 troops stationed in the country.

Coups in Mali and Burkina Faso in 2020 and 2022 respectively, had forced the retreat of French troops from those countries deployed to fight a jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region.

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