Sunday, June 23, 2024

France to pull its ambassador and soldiers from Niger

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

France has announced that it will pull out its ambassador and military presence from Niger after its democratically elected president was deposed in a coup.

France had stationed thousands of troops in the region at the request of African leaders to fight jihadist groups.

It has maintained some 1,500 troops in Niger since the July coup, and had repeatedly refused an order by the new junta for its ambassador to leave, saying that France didn’t recognize the coup leaders as legitimate.

Analyst say the latest announcement is a big blow to France’s policy in Africa, after French troops pulled out of neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso after the recent coups there.

Tensions between France and Niger, a former French colony, have mounted in recent weeks, and Macron said recently that diplomats were surviving on military rations as they holed up in the embassy.

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Macron engages with deposed President 

French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken to ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

“France has decided to bring back its ambassador, and in the coming hours our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France. And we will put an end to our military cooperation with the Niger authorities”, he said.

He said the troops would be gradually pulled out, likely by the end of the year, adding that France’s military presence in Niger was in response to a request from Niger’s government at the time.

Military cooperation between France and Niger had been suspended since the coup. The junta leaders claimed that Bazoum’s government wasn’t doing enough to protect the country from the insurgency.

The junta in August gave French Ambassador Sylvain Itte 48 hours to leave. After the deadline expired without France recalling him, the coup leaders then revoked his diplomatic immunity.

The junta is now under sanctions by Western and regional African powers.

In New York on Friday, the military government that seized power in Niger accused U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of “obstructing” the West African nation’s full participation at the U.N.’s annual meeting of world leaders in order to appease France and its allies.

Niger: Death toll from jihadist attacks rises to 100


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