Niger coup: Junta has NOT given French military, citizens 30 days to leave

The Niger coup has spurred a lot of misinformation online since it was announced last week. One of the most recent claims emerging on social media is that the military junta has given the French military a 30-day ultimatum to leave the county.

Others have also claimed the military government of Niger has ordered citizens of France, former colonial leaders of the Sahelian country, to leave the country.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claims and concludes they are false.

In verifying the claim, the Fact-Check Ghana team spoke with local Nigerien journalists and reviewed reports by the Nigerien media and other credible international media outlets.

Indeed, since the coup was announced, the French government has not only denounced it but taken steps to evacuate some of its citizens from the country. The evacuation which started on August 1 has seen many other European countries join.

However, there is no evidence to support the claim that the French government evacuated its citizens because the military junta ordered it to. Nigerien journalists debunked the claim of the 30-day ultimatum for France.

“No, even in his Independence Day message to the nation on August 3, the new Head of State clearly stated that they had not expelled French citizens from Niger,” Oumar Adamou, a freelance Nigerien journalist told Fact-Check Ghana.

Niger celebrated its independence on August 3. On the eve of the celebration, Brigadier Abdouramane Tchiani, leader of the Conseil National pour la Sauvegarde de la Patrie (CNSP), the military group that has taken over power, delivered a message to the country. In his speech, he addressed the rumours.

“For our part, we believe that human life is sacred; the lives of Nigeriens as well as that of our brothers and friends residing in Niger. They, therefore, have no objective reason to leave Niger.

“The government and the Nigerien people strongly attached to our values of justice and hospitality, are ready to continue to assume their security; unless this is part of an unconfessed political approach that consists of creating security psychosis in people’s minds. Also, we call on all Nigeriens to manifest their position, without violence and with respect for human life,” he said.

Even though on August 3, the Junta announced on live television the revocation of five military deals with France dating from 1977 to 2020, journalists told Fact-Check Ghana there has not been any announcement of a 30-day ultimatum for the French troops to leave Niger.

Indeed, reports from many credible media outlets (here, here and here) indicate that there are about 1,000 to 1,500 French soldiers currently in Niger helping in the fight against insurgency groups.

Therefore, the claims that the military junta has ordered French soldiers and citizens to leave the country are false.

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