Military Council in Niger: France is preparing for military intervention

Military Council in Niger: France is preparing for military intervention

Nigerian security forces guard a French air base in the capital, Niamey, where demonstrators protest against the French presence in the country.Photo by Agence France-Presse

France has soldiers in several member states of the Economic Community of West African States, in partnership with West African countries. Last month, ECOWAS repeatedly threatened to intervene militarily in Niger if the coup plotters did not give up power.

The military junta said in a statement broadcast on national television that France is preparing to launch an attack on Niger in cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States. According to the junta, France sent additional helicopters and armored personnel carriers to Ivory Coast, Benin and Senegal.

Tensions with France have escalated since the coup that ousted elected President Mohamed Bazoum. Like other Western countries, France does not recognize the authority of the military and Paris has repeatedly condemned the coup. Niger was a French colony until 1960.

France deploys a force of about 1,500 soldiers in Niger, but the military junta has canceled many military cooperation treaties. Insiders told Agence France-Presse last week that the two countries are discussing the withdrawal of French forces, which, according to the coup plotters, are stationed “illegally” in Niger. In the capital, Niamey, thousands of junta supporters demonstrate every day at a French military base.

At the end of August, the Nigerian military junta ordered the expulsion of the French ambassador from the country. As far as we know, he did not respond to that. Shortly after the coup, demonstrators supporting the coup plotters attacked the French embassy in the capital, Niamey. They were unable to enter the embassy compound, but they destroyed it. France subsequently evacuated hundreds of its citizens from Niger.

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