Macron withdraws all 2,500 soldiers from Niger
At the end of July, the army seized power in Niger and has been demanding the withdrawal of French forces ever since. What does withdrawal mean for the region and the West?
French President Emmanuel Macron announced, in an interview on Sunday evening, the end of cooperation with Niger and the withdrawal of soldiers at the end of the year (archive photo).
After the overthrow of Head of State Mohamed Bazoum (right) in a military coup in July, coup leaders demand the withdrawal of French soldiers stationed in Niger.
France does not recognize the new government. The very poor African country was an important partner of France in its fight against terrorism in the Sahel until the coup.
France Press agency
Macron said in the interview that France was not in Niger to be a hostage of the coup plotters. Soldiers stationed in Niger and neighboring Chad are expected to return to France by the end of the year.
France Press agency
After a military coup, General Abderrahmane Tiani took power in Niger.
France and other Western countries do not recognize the new government.
Now the French President has announced that he will withdraw his ambassador and soldiers from Niger.
Niger was considered the West’s last ally in the region.
Two months after the military coup in Niger, France announced that it would withdraw its ambassador and armed forces from the West African country. President Emmanuel Macron said, in an interview on the TF1 and France 2 television channels, on Sunday evening, that military cooperation will end. He added that the soldiers should return by the end of the year.
At the end of last July, the Presidential Guard in Niger overthrew the head of state, Mohamed Bazoum, in a military coup. The new ruler is General Abderrahmane Tiani, who suspended the constitutional order. France, the former colonial power, does not recognize the new government, as do other Western and African countries.
The ambassador was essentially held hostage
The very poor African country with a population of about 26 million was an important partner of France in its fight against terrorism in the Sahel until the coup. Paris has about 2,500 soldiers deployed in neighboring Niger and Chad. Germany also maintains a military air transport base in the capital, Niamey, from which the German army is currently withdrawing from Mali.
French Ambassador Sylvain Etty is also expected to return to France soon, Macron said. At the end of August, the coup plotters actually demanded that the diplomat leave the country, but France ignored the ultimatum. Since then, according to Macron, the ambassador and his staff have been held “hostage.”
The coup plotters are friends of chaos
Macron said in the interview that France was not in Niger to be a hostage of the coup plotters. The coup plotters are friends of chaos. Attacks by Islamic jihadists are now increasing, claiming lives every day in Mali. He is concerned about this area. France has shouldered its responsibility, sometimes alone, and he is proud of the French soldiers. But one is not responsible for the policies of these countries.
As French media unanimously reported on Sunday, the military government specifically closed Nigerien airspace to French aircraft on Saturday. Niger had previously lifted the complete lockdown it imposed for several weeks after the coup on September 4.
France, the former colonial power, was forced to withdraw its forces after military coups in the neighboring countries of Mali and Burkina Faso. Niger was considered the West’s last ally in the region.
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