Paris is planning to intervene in Niger, as it continues to deploy troops to several countries in the region, the West African state’s military government has claimed. Relations between Niger and former colonial power France have deteriorated since a coup in July.
- “France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger, which it is planning in collaboration with this community organization,” Colonel Amadou Abdramane, spokesman for the government in Niamey, said in a statement broadcast on national television on Saturday, as quoted by AFP.
ECOWAS has threatened to intervene in the country to restore its ousted president Mohamed Bazoum to office.
Top French officials have also stated several times that Paris would support military action by the bloc.
- However, according to Niger’s military-appointed prime minister, Ali Lamine Zeine, military action by ECOWAS is not supported by all member states.
- He also told the media on Monday that the new government in Niamey was hoping to reach an agreement with the bloc in the “coming days.”
Nigerien military leaders have previously denounced the presence of French troops in the country as “illegal” and demanded their prompt withdrawal.
- While speaking during the G20 summit in New Delhi, French President Emmanuel Macron said that since his country doesn’t recognize the Nigerien military government, any redeployment of its forces might be done only “at the request of President Bazoum.”
Paris already had to withdraw troops from Burkina Faso earlier this year. France also pulled its forces out of Mali following tensions with the military government after a coup in 2020.