The political situation in Niger should teach France and other Western countries, including the US and UK, that Africa cannot be taken for granted, a former Nigerien foreign affairs officer, Iliyasu Gadu, told RT on Thursday.
According to Gadu, a wind of change leading to a decline in western hegemony is “blowing across French-speaking Africa and West Africa” and must be accepted by Paris and other former colonizers.
Last month, Niger’s presidential guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power, prompting anti-French protests from thousands of people who supported the move.
The new military government accused France on Wednesday of violating its airspace and releasing dangerous terrorists. The coup leaders previously accused the former colonial power of plotting a strike to free Bazoum.
Paris has denied the allegations, claiming that it flew a plane into the capital Niamey in accordance with an agreement with the Nigerien army.
The coup in Niger on July 26 has triggered aid cuts from partnering countries, including France, Germany, and the US.
Despite being sanctioned by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which is considering military intervention, the new authorities have rejected both regional and international pressure to release Bazoum and restore democratic order.
In an interview with RT, Gadu said he believes ECOWAS is acting at French behest by threatening to intervene militarily in Niger.
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He argued that while France has oil and mineral concessions in its former colonies that benefit it at the expense of the local people, it “cannot go in and intervene or force change.”
“So at the moment, they want ECOWAS to do that,” he said, adding that “force and intervention will not help” to resolve the unrest in Niger.
Gadu said he views the willingness of neighboring states to get involved in the Sahel country as being “not in the interest” of ECOWAS, but in the interest of Paris.
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