Sarah Johnson
Sun, Sep 10, 2023 7:50 PM

France Accused of Amassing Forces for Possible Intervention in Niger

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France Accused of Amassing Forces for Possible Intervention in Niger
Niger's new military leaders have accused France of gathering forces for a potential military intervention in the country. French President Emmanuel Macron has stated that any action will only be taken at the behest of the deposed Nigerien leader Mohamed Bazoum. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is also considering collaborating on the intervention. The junta in Niger has used anti-French sentiment to solidify its support amongst the population since ousting Bazoum. The accusations by the junta cited the deployment of French military aircraft and armored vehicles in neighboring countries.

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Niger's new military leaders have accused France of gathering forces for a potential military intervention in the country. Relations between France and Niger have been strained since the coup in July, with the junta demanding the departure of the French ambassador and troops from Niger.

French President Emmanuel Macron responded to the allegations during the Group of 20 summit, stating that any action taken by France would only occur at the request of deposed Nigerien leader Mohamed Bazoum. Macron emphasized that coordination would be essential to avoid working with those who are currently holding the presidency hostage.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional bloc, is also reportedly considering collaborating with France on the intervention. Macron expressed full support for ECOWAS's position, which views a military intervention as a potential means to reinstate Bazoum as president.

Since overthrowing Bazoum, the junta in Niger has capitalized on anti-French sentiment among the populace, attempting to bolster its support. The country has traditionally been a strategic partner of France and the West in countering growing jihadi violence in the Sahel region.

Junta spokesman Maj. Amadou Abdramane accused France of deploying military aircraft and armored vehicles in neighboring countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Benin. However, these claims have not been independently verified by The Associated Press.

"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," Abdramane stated in a broadcast on state television.

French military spokesperson Col. Pierre Gaudilliere clarified that French activities have been suspended in Niger since the coup, and there are currently fewer than 1,500 troops in the country. Prior statements made by French officials regarding troop deployment were aimed at evaluating future capabilities.

The tensions between Niger and France illustrate the complexities of the post-coup situation, with both sides maneuvering to gain regional and international support. The fate of Niger's political landscape remains uncertain, with the junta seeking to solidify its control and the international community urging the restoration of democratic processes.

As this situation unfolds, the specter of jihadi violence in the Sahel region looms large. Niger's previous partnership with France and other Western countries in combating extremist groups has drawn particular attention to the potential implications of political instability on security efforts.

The coming weeks will likely bring further developments in the Niger-France standoff, as regional organizations like ECOWAS, France, and other international stakeholders grapple with navigating a delicate balance between respecting Niger's sovereignty and regional security concerns.

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

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