Jonathan Stewart
Sun, Sep 10, 2023 4:30 PM

France Accused of Preparing for Military Intervention in Niger by Junta Spokesman

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France Accused of Preparing for Military Intervention in Niger by Junta Spokesman
Niger's new military leaders accuse France of amassing forces for a possible military intervention in the country following the coup in July. French President Emmanuel Macron says he will only take action at the demand of deposed Nigerien leader Mohamed Bazoum. The junta in Niger has leveraged anti-French sentiment to shore up its support in resistance to regional and international pressure to reinstate the president. The country had been a strategic partner of France and the West in the fight against growing jihadi violence in the conflict-ridden Sahel region.

ABUJA, Nigeria - Niger's new military leaders have accused France of amassing forces for a possible military intervention in the country following the coup in July. French President Emmanuel Macron stated on Sunday that he would only take action at the demand of deposed Nigerien leader Mohamed Bazoum.

The junta spokesman, Maj. Amadou Abdramane, declared that France is also considering collaborating in such an intervention with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional bloc.

"France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger," Abdramane stated late Saturday in a statement broadcast on state television.

Macron neither confirmed nor denied the junta's claim when asked about it after the Group of 20 summit.

"If we redeploy anything, it will only be at the demand of Bazoum and in coordination with him, not with those people who are holding a president hostage," he said.

However, Macron mentioned that France "fully" supports the position of ECOWAS, which has said it's contemplating a military intervention as an option to reinstate Bazoum as president.

Since toppling Bazoum, the junta in Niger has leveraged anti-French sentiment among the population. They have asked the French ambassador and troops to leave, in order to shore up its support in resistance to regional and international pressure to reinstate the president. Previously, the country had been a strategic partner of France and the West in the fight against growing jihadi violence in the conflict-ridden Sahel region, the arid expanse below the Sahara Desert.

The junta spokesman claimed that France has deployed military aircraft and armored vehicles in countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Benin for such aggression, although this has yet to be independently verified.

"This is why the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland and the transitional government launch a solemn appeal to the great people of Niger to be vigilant and never to demobilize until the inevitable departure of French troops from our territory," he urged.

French military spokesperson Col. Pierre Gaudilliere stated that there are now "a little less" than the 1,500 French troops in Niger who had been working with Nigerien security forces to combat jihadi violence.

All French activities have been suspended since the coup. "Therefore, declarations that have been made (earlier by the French) are about exploring what we're going to do with these capabilities," Gaudilliere clarified.

Conclusion

France's actions and intentions regarding a possible military intervention in Niger are a subject of contention and concern. The junta in Niger accuses France of preparing for aggression, while French President Macron insists that any action will be in coordination with the deposed Nigerien leader.

The situation is complicated by the leverage the junta is attempting to gain through anti-French sentiment among the population. Previously, Niger had been a crucial partner in the fight against jihadi violence in the Sahel region, making the country's stability and relationship with France a matter of regional and international importance.

As these allegations and counter-allegations unfold, it remains to be seen how the tensions between Niger and France will evolve and whether ECOWAS will ultimately decide to intervene to reinstate President Bazoum.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-10 News

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