Finally, France agrees to bundle its troops, ambassador out of Niger


NIAMEY – President, Emmanuel Macron, has said France will withdraw its ambassador and end all military co-operation with Niger following a coup.

“France has decided to withdraw its ambassador. In the next hours, our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France,” Macron said.

He added that military co-operation was “over,” and French troops would leave in “the months to come,” reported the BBC.

The military junta, which seized power in Niger in July, welcomed the move.

“This Sunday, we celebrate a new step towards the sovereignty of Niger,” the junta said in a statement quoted by AFP news agency.

There are about 1,500 French soldiers in the landlocked West African country helping to fight Islamist militants.

The US also has more than 1,000 troops in Niger but these have not been asked to leave.

The decision by Paris follows months of animosity and protests against the French presence in its former colony, with regular demonstrations in the capital Niamey.

Niger is one of several former French colonies in West and Central Africa, where the military has recently seized control.

It follows Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Chad, and the latest coup is in Gabon in August.

Anti-French vitriol has flourished in the region in recent years, with many local politicians accusing Paris of carrying out neocolonialist policies – a charge denied by France.

Read More: President Macron claims French ambassador to Niger ‘held hostage, living off food rations’

There have also been concerns in the West over the growing role in the Sahel of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group.

It is accused of human rights abuses and has been helping some new military regimes.

The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), supported by France, had threatened military intervention in Niger to reinstate Bazoum.

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