The French ambassador to Niger, as well as other French diplomats, are being “held hostage at the French embassy,” according to French president Emmanuel Macron.
“In Niger, as I speak to you, we have an ambassador and diplomatic members who are literally taken hostage at the French embassy,” Macron said. “They are preventing the delivery of food. He’s eating army rations.”
The hostage situation comes after soldiers overthrew the African country’s president earlier this year and seized power.
When asked about bringing the ambassador home, Macron said he would work on the situation with the ousted Niger president.
“I will do whatever we agree on with President Bazoum because he is the legitimate authority and I speak with him every day,” Macron said, according to CNN.
Earlier this year, an American aid worker held hostage in West Africa was released, more than six years after terrorists captured him in Niger.
Announcing the release of the aid worker, Jeffery Woodke, on Twitter, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said he was “gratified and relieved.”
“The U.S. thanks Niger for its help in bringing him home to all who miss & love him. I thank so many across our government who’ve worked tirelessly toward securing his freedom,” Sullivan said.
A senior administration official did not specify which terror group held Woodke, alluding only to “intersecting overlapping terrorist networks” in the region that view “kidnapping and hostage taking as part of their business model,” CNN reported.
The official said no ransom was paid for Woodke’s release, and there was no “direct negotiation” between the U.S. government and terrorist organizations, adding that the U.S.’ “best line of effort among many” ended up being to see what Niger “was able to deliver in their own engagement.”
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.