Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum on Friday called for an investigation into a French military convoy heading for Mali which sparked violent protests and killed three people, according to Niamey.
The convoy heading to Mali encountered problems in Niger last month after being delayed by protests in Burkina Faso, with the Nigerien government reporting three dead and more than a dozen injured.
“With regard to the French military, I demand that the French authorities open an investigation with a view to punishing those guilty of reprehensible acts”, declared Bazoum in a televised address on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the independence of the Niger vis-à-vis France.
The supply convoy, which arrived on African soil in Côte d’Ivoire earlier this month, had crossed Burkina Faso before entering Niger on its way to its destination in Mali.
He was heading to a base in Gao, central Mali, the hub of the French Operation Barkhane which is strengthening its allies in the Sahel against a jihadist insurgency that began in northern Mali nearly a decade ago.
But clashes erupted in Tera, in western Niger.
French army spokesman Pascal Ianni said at the time that “no French soldier was injured”.
But “two civilian drivers of the convoy were injured by stones and civilian trucks were damaged.”
Bazoum previously expressed his “gratitude” to France and applauded his “sacrifices” in the Sahel.