French Troops, Ambassador To Leave Niger Amid Political Unrest

French Troops, Ambassador To Leave Niger Amid Political Unrest

Fawaz Adebisi


In a significant development, France announces the withdrawal of its 1,500 soldiers from Niger by year-end, following the recent coup on July 26th.

President Emmanuel Macron also confirms the withdrawal of Ambassador Sylvain Itte in the coming hours.

Despite being Niger’s former colonial ruler, France refuses to be “held hostage by the putchists.”

This decision is expected to have far-reaching implications for French influence and counter-insurgency efforts in the Sahel region.

The move comes after weeks of pressure from the junta and popular demonstrations, potentially heightening concerns about Russia’s expanding influence in Africa, given the presence of the Russian mercenary force Wagner in neighboring Mali.

President Macron maintains that he does not recognize the junta as Niger’s legitimate authority but intends to coordinate the troop withdrawal with the coup leaders.

French nuclear power plants rely on Niger for a portion of their uranium supply, with Orano, a state-owned company, operating a mine in Niger’s north.

Despite this, Macron affirms his support for democratically elected President Mohammed Bazoum, who is currently held prisoner by the coup leaders.

Niger’s military rulers have responded to France’s decision, celebrating it as a step toward their country’s sovereignty.

This development may also impact air travel, as the military rulers have reportedly banned French aircraft from flying over Niger’s airspace.

French influence in West Africa has been diminishing in recent years, coinciding with increased public discontent.

The French military has been expelled from neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso due to coups in those countries, reducing its role in the fight against Islamist insurgencies in the Sahel region.

Notably, anti-French protests have centered around France’s military base in Niger’s capital, Niamey, since the July 26 coup.

As tensions rise and geopolitical dynamics shift, the situation in Niger remains a focal point of international concern.


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