Jennifer Smith
Sun, Sep 10, 2023 4:25 PM

France Accused of Planning Military Intervention in Niger

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France Accused of Planning Military Intervention in Niger
Niger's new military leaders accuse France of planning a military intervention in the country following the coup in July. French President Emmanuel Macron says he will only take action at the demand of the deposed Nigerien leader Mohamed Bazoum. Tensions rise as Niger's junta claims France is amassing forces and considering collaboration with ECOWAS for intervention. France denies the claims but supports ECOWAS's position, while the junta asks the population to be vigilant.

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- As tensions continue to rise in Niger following the coup that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum, the country's new military leaders have accused France of planning a military intervention. The junta claims that France is amassing forces in several ECOWAS countries, raising concerns about possible aggression against Niger.

In response to the accusations, French President Emmanuel Macron has stated that any military action by France would only be taken at the demand of Bazoum and in coordination with him. Macron also expressed full support for the position of ECOWAS, which is considering a military intervention to reinstate Bazoum as president.

However, since seizing power, the junta in Niger has leveraged anti-French sentiment among the population to rally support and resist pressure to reinstate Bazoum. They have called for the French ambassador and troops to leave the country, further straining the already tense relationship.

Niger, a former French colony, has been a strategic partner of France and the West in the fight against jihadi violence in the Sahel region. The conflict-ridden area below the Sahara Desert has been plagued by extremist groups, and Niger has played a crucial role in countering the threat.

The junta spokesman claims that France has deployed military aircraft and armored vehicles in countries like Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Benin as part of their alleged plan for aggression. However, the Associated Press has not been able to independently verify this information.

"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," said the junta spokesman, Maj. Amadou Abdramane.

In response, a French military spokesperson confirmed that there has been a reduction in their troop presence in Niger since the coup. However, all French activities have been suspended, and any previous statements were exploratory in nature to determine future actions.

The escalating tensions between Niger and France highlight the complex dynamics at play in the region. The junta's accusations against France have further fueled anti-French sentiments among the population, reflecting their dissatisfaction with the previous regime's close ties to the former colonial power.

As international pressure mounts on the junta to restore democratic order, ECOWAS is considering a military intervention to reinstate Bazoum. France's support for ECOWAS's position shows the delicate balance it must navigate as it tries to address the crisis while respecting Niger's sovereignty.

The situation in Niger remains fluid, and it is uncertain how the standoff between the junta, France, and ECOWAS will unfold. The hope is for a peaceful resolution that allows Niger to transition back to democratic rule while maintaining stability in the fight against jihadi violence.

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

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