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Thousands celebrate departure of French Ambassador from Niger, but the fight continues

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NIAMEY, Niger – In a jubilant display of national unity, thousands of Nigerians gathered near France’s military base in Niamey earlier this week to celebrate the departure of the French ambassador. This event comes roughly a month after the military junta ordered the French diplomat to leave the country. However, even as the crowds rejoiced, anti-French activists emphasize that their battle is far from over.

The atmosphere in Niamey was electric as Nigerians from various walks of life came together to mark what they see as a significant milestone in their struggle against foreign influence. Chants of victory filled the air, and the crowd waved flags and held signs proclaiming their desire for full sovereignty. Demonstrators believe that the exit of the French ambassador is just the beginning of a larger movement to reclaim their nation’s independence.

“This victory is not, if you like, a total victory for this revolution; it’s only the beginning,” declared one demonstrator. “We call on the entire population of Niger to mobilize as one until the last French soldier leaves Niger.”

While the departure of the ambassador has been met with widespread joy, many activists maintain a vigilant stance, echoing the sentiment that this is merely a step forward in their struggle for complete autonomy. “We’re overjoyed. But just because the ambassador has gone doesn’t mean that we’re going to stay at home and say ‘It’s over, we’ve won.’ No, we are going to continue the fight,” emphasized another protester.

Their primary demand now centers on the withdrawal of France’s approximately 1,500 soldiers stationed in Niger. Paris has confirmed its commitment to this withdrawal, assuring that it will be completed before the end of the year. This announcement has given hope to those who long for the removal of foreign military presence from their homeland.

The anti-French sentiment in Niger has been growing in recent years, with a push for greater self-determination and independence from what some perceive as neocolonial influence. The ousting of the French ambassador is seen as a significant step in this direction, and the celebrations in Niamey reflect the depth of feeling among the Nigerian population.

France has had a longstanding military presence in Niger, which has drawn criticism from those who argue that the presence of foreign troops infringes on Niger’s sovereignty. While the departure of the French ambassador is a significant development, the coming months will be crucial in determining whether Niger achieves its ultimate goal of full independence from foreign military intervention.

As Nigerians continue to rally for their cause, it remains to be seen how this movement will evolve and what impact it will have on the broader geopolitical landscape of the region. For now, the people of Niger are resolute in their determination to see their nation stand on its own, free from foreign influence and intervention.

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