The leader of last week’s military coup in Niger has condemned sanctions imposed on the country by the West African regional bloc, Ecowas, as “illegal, unjust and inhumane”.

Gen Abdourahamane Tchiani insisted his government would not give in to regional or international pressure to reinstate Niger’s elected President, Mohammed Bazoum.

In a televised speech, Gen Tchiani also insisted French nationals had nothing to fear.

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Paris has confirmed it has evacuated nearly 1,000 people, including 560 French citizens, after its embassy in Niamey came under attack from demonstrators on Sunday.

The US State Department late on Wednesday announced a partial evacuation of its embassy in Niger, with non-essential staff and their families urged to leave.

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An Ecowas delegation led by Nigeria’s former military head of state, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar is in Niamey, Niger’s capital, to mediate with the coup leaders.

West African military chiefs have also been meeting in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

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Nigeria’s military defence spokesperson, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, told the BBC: “the military solution will be the last option”.

Their military plan is to be presented on Friday to Ecowas heads of state, who will then decide the bloc’s next course of action on Niger.