France finally decided to withdraw 1,500 troops from Niger after a military coup succeeded in overthrowing the pro-Paris leader in the African country. Photo/REUTERS
PARIS – France finally decided to withdraw thousands of troops and diplomats from Niger after a successful coup by anti-colonial forces.
The decision was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday. The decision will cause around 1,500 French troops to leave the former colony by the end of this year.
“France has decided to recall its ambassador. “In the next few hours our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France,” Macron told France 2 television station, Sunday (24/9/2023).
“And we will end our military cooperation with the Niger authorities,” Macron continued, adding that French troops would return to the country in the coming months.
Niger’s pro-French President, Mohamed Bazoum, was ousted in a military coup in July.
Capitalizing on widespread public dissatisfaction with France’s decade-long anti-rebel operation in the region, the coup leaders immediately suspended military cooperation agreements with the French government and demanded that French troops leave.
Niger’s military leaders then demanded in August that French Ambassador Sylvain Itte leave, and revoked his diplomatic immunity when Paris rejected the call.
Last week, Macron claimed that the Nigerian military was holding Itte hostage by blocking food deliveries to the French embassy.
Some 1,500 French troops are currently based in Niger, after Paris suspended military operations in Mali and Burkina Faso following similar coups in both countries.