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Niger Revokes Military Cooperation Agreements with France, Redefining the Fight Against Insurgency

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Niger Revokes Military Cooperation Agreements with France, Redefining the Fight Against Insurgency
Niger's junta has announced the revocation of military cooperation agreements with France, a decision that could have significant implications for the fight against Islamist insurgents in the Sahel region. The move follows last week's military coup in Niger and is part of a growing wave of anti-French sentiment in the region. France has been providing support in the fight against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked groups in West Africa. This decision comes amid widespread condemnation from regional and Western partners, as well as the imposition of sanctions against the coup leaders to restore constitutional order.

NIAMEY/ABUJA, Aug 3 - In a move that could reshape the fight against Islamist insurgents in the region, Niger's junta has revoked a number of military cooperation agreements with France. This decision, following the recent military coup in Niger, has come amidst a rising tide of anti-French sentiment among locals who accuse the former colonial power of interfering in their affairs.

France has been actively assisting Niger, with a deployment of between 1,000 and 1,500 troops, to combat the insurgency by groups affiliated with al Qaeda and Islamic State that have been destabilizing the Sahel region in West Africa.

The junta representative, Amadou Abdramane, announced the revocation of five military deals with France, dating back to 1977, on national television. A diplomatic notice will be sent to France to confirm the termination of these agreements. At the time of writing this article, there had been no immediate response from France.

France, along with other regional and Western partners, including Niger, have implemented comprehensive sanctions in an effort to exert pressure on the coup leaders and restore constitutional order following the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum. Notably, this is the seventh coup to have occurred in West and Central Africa since 2020.

Junta leader Abdourahamane Tiani, who garnered support from the juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso, cites persistent security challenges as the main justification for seizing power. However, data related to attacks in the country indicates that security has actually been improving.

In response to being ousted, President Bazoum wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post, characterizing himself as a hostage and issuing a plea to the international community to restore constitutional order. Bazoum emphasized the grave consequences this coup could have for Niger, the region, and the world at large.

Adding to the junta's resistance, Niger has suspended broadcasts of French state-funded international news outlets, France 24 and RFI. The French foreign ministry condemned this move. Similar actions against French media have been witnessed following coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, where French troops have also been expelled, with many now stationed in Niger.

In Niamey, the capital of Niger, hundreds of protesters took to the streets to express their opposition to foreign pressure being exerted on the coup leaders. One of the placards read, "Long live Niger, Russia, Mali, and Burkina. Down with France, ECOWAS, EU." Notably, some protesters were seen waving Russian flags.

The junta and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are currently engaged in a standoff. ECOWAS, committed to reversing the democratic backslide in West Africa, has taken a firm stance against the coup and warned that such actions will no longer be tolerated. An ECOWAS delegation is present in Niamey, seeking to secure an amicable resolution, while the defense chiefs of the bloc have been meeting this week to discuss potential military intervention as a last resort.

The junta stated that any aggression from ECOWAS would be met with an immediate response from Niger's armed forces, excluding nations that are friendly towards Niger. Mali and Burkina Faso have declared that they would perceive an ECOWAS intervention in Niger as a declaration of war against them as well and would come to Niamey's aid. Tiani dispatched a general to both countries to garner their support.

The revocation of military cooperation agreements between Niger and France marks a significant turning point in the fight against Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region. The consequences, both in terms of security and diplomatic relations, remain uncertain. It is a precarious time for Niger, its allies, and the region as a whole.

Author: Jane Doe

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-04 News

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