The son of Niger’s ambassador to France Aïchatou Boulama Kané has been arrested in the country’s junta-controlled capital Niamey, the official has confirmed.
Idrissa Kané, who currently serves as the director general of the Niger Poste, is said to have been picked up by police in Niamey. The reason for his arrest is so far unclear.
Niger Poste is the government organisation responsible for the postal service in Niger.
According to a report by Le Figaro, ambassador Kané has been an outspoken critic of the military coup, refusing to step down from her position after the junta attempted to end the term of the country’s ambassadors to France, the United States, Nigeria and Togo.
“I am still the ambassador of legitimate President Bazoum Mohamed and I consider myself as such,” she told French media after the rebels, took power, a move she considered “null and void”.
While there has been speculation that the arrest of the ambassador’s son was in retaliation to her resistance, he is also under investigation for the alleged embezzlement of public funds.
French media has so far failed to establish the precise reason he was taken into custody.
The arrest comes amid increasing instability within Niger, which has reportedly seen the first signs of internal resistance to the new regime amid the threat of invasion from neighbouring African states.
According to a report by Reuters, veteran rebel leader Rhissa Ag Boula – who had headed up multiple armed insurrections against Nigerien governments in the past – has announced the formation of a group aimed at resisting the coup d’etat.
Ag Boula stated that the aim of his new “Council of Resistance for the Republic” is to restore democratically elected President Bazoum to power.
“Niger is the victim of a tragedy orchestrated by people charged with protecting it,” he said, vowing his group would fight for Bazoum’s return by “any means necessary”.
Speculation continues as to what role Moscow has played and is currently playing in the ongoing coup, with the presence of Russian-backed Wagner Group mercenaries in the region prompting speculation from Western commentators.
Speaking on the issue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed doubt as to whether the paramilitary organisation was ever involved in the Niger revolution but surmised the group would now look to benefit from it.
“Every single place where this Wagner group has gone, death, destruction and exploitation have followed,” the American official told the BBC.
“I think what happened and what continues to happen in Niger was not instigated by Russia or by Wagner,” he said, adding that there was “evidence” that both were now trying “to take advantage of it”.