Former President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum

Paris: France has cut off financial support to Niger after a coup toppled the West African country’s democratically elected president, CNN reported.

France in a statement called for the “immediate return to the Nigerien constitutional order” adding to the mounting international pressure on the coup plotters.

The move came shortly after the European Union suspended all security cooperation to Niger on Saturday and announced that it would no longer provide financial support. Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries and receives hundreds of millions of dollars each year in assistance, as per CNN.

A general who leads the country’s presidential guard, Abdourahamane Tiani, was declared the country’s new leader after President Mohamed Bazoum was detained earlier this week.

EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borell said: “This unacceptable attack on the integrity of Niger’s republican institutions will not remain without consequences for the partnership and cooperation between the European Union and Niger, in all its various aspects.”

“President Bazoum was democratically elected; he is and remains the only legitimate President of Niger. He must be released unconditionally and without delay.”

Leaders from Washington to Moscow have called for Bazoum’s release, so far to no avail.

According to CNN, The African Union on Saturday demanded that Nigerien military personnel “immediately and unconditionally return to their barracks and restore constitutional authority,” within 15 days. The AU warned it would “take necessary action, including punitive measures against the perpetrators, should the rights of political detainees not be respected.”

Borell and French President Emmanuel Macron both said they would be willing to support regional organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States, should they decide to bring sanctions against Niger.

It is unclear to what extent international pressure would impact the decision of those attempting to seize power.

Abdourahamane Tiani, a Niger general, following the military coup that sparked international condemnation, declared himself as the country’s new leader, by appearing on national television, CNN reported on Friday.

Tiani appeared on Tele Sahel with a banner identifying him as “President of the national council for the Preservation of the Homeland.”

The appearance comes a day after the West African country’s military endorsed the leaders behind the toppling of President Mohamed Bazoum’s government.

Despite the move, an official loyal to the deposed president said there was infighting among the plotters while France has said the coup is “not final”.

Tiani said in the broadcast that Wednesday’s coup was motivated by both the desire to “preserve our homeland” in a context of a “deteriorating security situation,” and poor economic and social governance, CNN reported.