France will close its embassy in Niger, where anti-French sentiment has grown since a July coup, because a staff exodus following an attack left it unable to function, diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

“After the attack on our embassy July 30, and the setting up of a blockade around our building by Niger forces, most of our diplomatic staff left in late September,” the sources said.

“The French embassy in Niger is therefore no longer able to function normally or fulfil its missions. Taking note of this situation, we have decided to close our embassy.”

Local staff members have been dismissed and compensated, the sources added.

Relations between Niger and former colonial power France soured after the military ousted elected leader Mohamed Bazoum in a coup on July 26.

The Sahel country’s new rulers scrapped defence deals with its traditional security partner, expelled the French ambassador and has forged closer ties with Russia.

French troops based in Niger as part of an anti-jihadist mission are due to complete their withdrawal this month.

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