May 28, 2024

Hundreds rally in Niger, demand expulsion of US troops

Hundreds marched through Niger’s capital on Saturday to demand the expulsion of US troops.

The rally came after the ruling junta modified its policy by canceling a military agreement with the US and embracing Russian military instructors.

The protesters marched through central Niamey, waving Nigerien flags in a demonstration reminiscent of anti-French riots that prompted France’s withdrawal from Niger last year after the army seized power in a coup.

The junta had in mid-March revoked an agreement that had allowed nearly 1,000 U.S. military personnel to operate on its territory out of two bases.

Until the military takeover, Niger had been a crucial security partner for France and the United States, which used it as a base in foreign missions to combat a decade-long extremist insurgency in West Africa’s Sahel area.

However, the new authorities in Niger have joined juntas in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso in abandoning military accords with one-time Western allies, leaving the regional political and economic body ECOWAS, and developing stronger ties with Russia.

Niger’s junta stated in a statement last week that they had not benefited from the US military presence , which “turned out to be a fool’s bargain”.

It accused the United States of profiting from Niger, interfering with its internal affairs, and attempting to dominate its foreign relations.

The ruling junta also faulted Washington for not paying for the stationing of troops on the territory of the West African nation.

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