The French military structure in Niger begins to dismantle after almost ten years present in the African country and two months after the coup d’état in the country that forced this movement. The French Ministry of Defense announced this Thursday the progressive withdrawal of military assets deployed in the areaincluding 1,500 soldiers, as French President Emmanuel Macron already announced two weeks ago.
France’s departure from its former colony comes after the coup d’état last July in the country. On July 26, the rebellious military took control of the Presidential Palace and detained the president, Mohamed Bazoum. They also demanded the departure of the French troops, but Paris, which does not recognize the coup government, decided to keep its ambassador in Niamey, as well as its contingent.
The fight between Paris and its former colony has lasted barely two months, while anti-French sentiment grows in the streets of the country. The output starts now and The idea is that the 1,500 soldiers will be out before the end of the year. “The withdrawal of soldiers and military assets stationed in Niger begins this week (…) Coordination with the Nigerien soldiers is essential for the success of this maneuver. All arrangements have been made so that all movements are carried out in good order and security,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The new regime, calling itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP), has warned that the Nigerien Government is attentive “to ensuring that this withdrawal is carried out respecting its interests and conditions.”
The withdrawal will be done progressively and will be a complex process, although Defense has not given details. This council has announced that the first to leave will be about 400 soldiers present in Ouallam, in the west of the country, on the border with Mali and Burkina Faso. This information has not been confirmed by Paris. This is the hot zone of jihadism. The French presence in the Sahel was partly justified for this reasonin the fight against these groups, but after the military coup, Paris considers that the new regime is not a reliable partner to be able to fight this battle against terrorism safely.