By Enyichukwu Enemanna
France says it will close down its embassy in Niger indefinitely, arising from the frosty relationship between the two countries.
It is “no longer able to function normally or fulfil its missions” due to restrictions imposed by Niger’s military junta, the embassy says.
Local embassy staff have also been dismissed, former French ambassador Sylvain Itté said in a letter.
Niger’s relationship with France has been strained since the military toppled President Mohamed Bazoum in July.
In September, Mr Itté and several French staff left the country, a month after the military regime ordered the ambassador’s exit.
It also set up a blockade around the embassy premises in the capital, Niamey.
The embassy had come under attack by supporters of the junta shortly after the coup, but were dispersed by Nigerien forces, denying them access into the building.
The announcement of the embassy’s closure comes shortly before the expiration of the military government’s deadline for French troops to exit the West African nation.
They have been stationed in the country to help in the fight against jihadist groups linked to both al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
Most of the 1,500 troops have already left and the remaining 157 are required to depart on Friday.
Niger’s junta has signed a new defence alliance with neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali.
Like Niger, these are both former French colonies where the military has seized power in recent years.