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France Withdraws Troops and Ambassador from Niger

2023_09_15 French embassy in Niger

France has decided to terminate its military cooperation with Niger and withdraw all its troops from the African nation. President Macron announced this decision during a televised interview in France. The French ambassador will also be departing. This move comes several months after the military coup in Niger.

During the interview, Macron stated that he had communicated his decision to the ousted president, Bazoum, earlier today. He emphasized that France does not want to be held hostage by the coup leaders and still considers Bazoum the legitimate president.

Macron announced that the ambassador and other diplomats will return to France in the coming hours. The military personnel will gradually depart and will have left the country by the end of the year.

Earlier in the day, the military regime in Niger declared the closure of its airspace to French aircraft, including both military and commercial flights. In July, a coup took place in Niger against Bazoum’s government. The coup leaders, led by General Tiani, turned against the former colonizer France and terminated military cooperation. Additionally, the French ambassador was requested to leave the country.

France responded at the time by stating that it would only consider requests from “legitimately elected Nigerien authorities.”

France had approximately 1,500 troops stationed in Niger to assist in the fight against jihadist groups. French troops had previously been withdrawn from Mali and Burkina Faso, where the military had taken over from the sitting governments.

Over the past three years, nine coups have occurred in West and Central African countries. Many of these nations have expressed dissatisfaction with their close ties to former colonizer France, which often continued to exert influence through the ruling authorities.

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