France has issued an urgent appeal to the authorities of Niger for the “immediate release” of Stéphane Jullien. The French Foreign Adviser, residing in the country, was arrested on September 8th in Niamey under unclear circumstances, shortly after leaving the French embassy. Jullien has been a resident of Niger for nearly two decades and chose to remain in the country when French nationals were evacuated in early August.
In a statement, the French government asserts its unwavering commitment to providing consular protection to Stéphane Jullien since day one. However, it was only on Tuesday that they officially disclosed his detention in Niger. As a French Foreign Adviser, Jullien played a vital role in facilitating communication between the embassy and French citizens living in Niger.
On September 8th, he was apprehended in his vehicle as he departed from the French embassy. Nigerien security forces conducted a search, during which they discovered several items, including uniforms bearing the insignia of the Burkina Faso army. This finding raised suspicions and subsequently led to the adviser’s arrest. He remains in custody at Niamey’s Maison d’Arrêt.
Officially, no charges have been filed against him, and the case is not being handled by the Nigerian judiciary but rather by the Directorate General of External Security, which falls under the presidency.
Stéphane Jullien, who also heads an import-export business and has resided in Niger for 18 years, made the deliberate choice to remain in Niamey during the evacuation of his compatriots last month. He expressed that he did not feel threatened despite the anti-French rhetoric espoused by the CNSP coup leaders. The situation surrounding his detention continues to raise concerns and questions about his well-being and legal status.