The military administration of Niger has accused France of amassing troops and military equipment in several neighboring West African nations in preparation for a potential attack on Niger. This strained relationship with France, Niger’s former colonial power, deteriorated further after Paris expressed support for the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum following the coup in July,Daily Trust reports.
In a statement broadcasted on national television late Saturday, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, the spokesperson for the coup leaders, asserted, “France is continuing to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS countries as part of its preparations for a potential aggression against Niger, in collaboration with this regional organization.”
Abdramane disclosed that France had dispatched military aircraft, helicopters, and 40 armored vehicles to Cote d’Ivoire and Benin. He also pointed out that military cargo aircraft had transported significant quantities of war materials and equipment to Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, and other nations.
Niger is currently facing a standoff with the West African bloc ECOWAS, which has threatened military intervention if diplomatic efforts to reinstate Bazoum fail. However, ECOWAS is cautious not to repeat the transitional challenges experienced in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.
On August 3, the coup leaders revoked several military cooperation agreements with France, which had approximately 1,500 soldiers stationed in Niger as part of the broader counter-terrorism efforts. The coup leaders argue that France’s presence is now “illegitimate.”
France, refusing to acknowledge the military regime in Niger, does not consider the mutinous soldiers who ousted President Bazoum as parties to the cooperation agreements. Additionally, Niger has withdrawn the diplomatic immunity of French ambassador Sylvain Itte and instructed the police to expel him. France has consistently rejected this demand, contending that the military regime lacks the legal authority to issue such an order.