French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna stood next to Niger’s president in the capital, Niamey, two weeks ago and trumpeted the country’s role as a key partner as she pledged fresh financial aid.

Today, Mohamed Bazoum is being held hostage by his own security guards following a coup, and France’s Africa strategy is in tatters as it struggles to convince nations in the Sahel region the presence of a former colonial power can bring results.

Niger means a lot to France.