Niger’s military regime, which took power in July, accused France of deploying forces in several West African countries with a view to “military intervention.”
On Saturday, the military leaders’ spokesperson, Major Amadou Abdramane, revealed this information on behalf of the junta, according to France 24.
- “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,” Abdramane said.
Speaking further, the spokesperson revealed that France had deployed military aircraft, helicopters, and 40 armoured vehicles to Cote d’Ivoire and the Benin Republic.
- “Military cargo aircraft have enabled large quantities of war material and equipment to be unloaded in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Benin, to name but a few.”
France’s Reaction to the Coup
On its part, France, Niger’s former colonial power, has refused to acknowledge Niger military leaders as a legitimate government since they deposed Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
On August 3, Niger’s coup leaders renounced several military cooperation agreements with France, which has about 1,500 soldiers stationed in the country as part of a wider fight against jihadists.
Paris does not consider the soldiers who overthrew the president as a party to those cooperation deals.
Meanwhile, the military regime maintains France’s forces are now “illegally” stationed in Niger.
On Tuesday, a Paris defense ministry source told AFP that the French army was in talks with the military regime over withdrawing “elements” of its presence in Niger, confirming comments made the previous day by the Niger’s regime-appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine.
Every day for more than a week, thousands of people have gathered in the Nigerien capital Niamey around a military base housing French soldiers to demand their departure.