The Nigerien military regime, which took power in Niger after the July 26 coup, accused France on Saturday of preparing an aggression against the country by “deploying forces” in several neighboring West African states.
Renewed tension between Niamey and Paris. The Nigerien military regime resulting from a coup d’etat accused France on Saturday September 9 of “deploying its forces” in several West African countries with a view to “aggression” against Niger.
“France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger, which it is considering in collaboration with this community organization,” declared a member of the regime, Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane, in a statement read on national television.
According to the press release, the regime has noted since 1er September that “two A400M type military transport aircraft and a Dornier 328 were deployed as reinforcements in Côte d’Ivoire”, and that “two Super Puma type multirole helicopters” and “around forty armored vehicles” were “at Kandi and Malanville in Benin”. “On September 7, 2023, a French military ship docked in Cotonou (in Benin) with personnel and military assets on board,” according to the press release.
The generals in power also report “about a hundred rotations of military cargo planes having made it possible to land large quantities of material and war equipment in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, to name a few than these.” “These maneuvers” are intended to “succeed in a military intervention against our country”, according to them.
After the coup d’etat of July 26, ECOWAS brandished the threat of a military intervention in Niger, for which it had announced preparation, to restore constitutional order, free the overthrown president Mohamed Bazoum and restore him to his functions. . A decision supported by France, which has around 1,500 soldiers in this Sahelian country, as part of the anti-jihadist fight.
Discussions on a “disengagement plan”
On August 3, the Nigerien generals in power, who want the departure of French soldiers, denounced several military cooperation agreements concluded with the former colonial power. One of these texts contained a notice of one month, according to them.
The regime claimed in the press release that these forces were now present “illegally” in Niger. “1er September”, the “chief of staff of the Niger armies received the commander of the French forces in the Sahel in Zinder to discuss a plan for disengagement of French military capabilities”, he indicated.
The regime says it has been informed of “an announcement of withdrawal (…) which comes to us from an operational level and is therefore not carried by the general staff of the French armies, nor by the French government and n “has not been the subject of any official press release”.
On Tuesday, Paris affirmed that “exchanges” were underway between the Nigerien and French armies to “facilitate the movements of French military resources”, confirming remarks made the day before by the Prime Minister of Niger appointed by the regime, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine. “The question of maintaining some of our forces arises,” said the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.
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Every day for more than a week, thousands of people in total have gathered in the Nigerien capital Niamey, near a military base housing French soldiers to demand their departure.
For their part, the United States, which has some 1,100 soldiers in Niger, began “as a precaution” to reposition its troops from base 101 in Niamey to base 201 in Agadez, in the center of the country, the Department of Defense said Thursday.
France is engaged in a standoff with Niger, which has also withdrawn the diplomatic immunity and visa of the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, and demanded his “expulsion”.
Paris, which does not recognize the military regime, has justified the maintenance of Sylvain Itte several times. “France refuses to recall its ambassador declared persona non grata by the authorities and the Nigerien justice”, underlined once again the press release of the regime.
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Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, however, declared that his government hoped “if possible to maintain cooperation with a country with which we have shared a lot of things.” He also expressed that he was “hopeful” that his country would find an “understanding” with ECOWAS, after the head of the regime, General Abdourahamane Tiani, announced a transition lasting a maximum of three years.
However, the regional organization does not want to “repeat” in this country “the experiences of Mali, Guinea and Burkina”, where transition periods had been negotiated.
Source: France 24