Africa

Withdrawal of French Troops Facilitated Niger’s Fight Against Terrorism — Defense Minister

A working meeting was held between the Russian Deputy Ministers of Defense Colonel-General Alexander Fomin and Colonel-General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, and Niger’s Defense Minister Gen. Salifou Mody

Niger’s top military command is in the Russian Federation to discuss a variety of issues about bilateral military cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts. Niger’s Minister of National Defense General Salifou Modi arrived in Russia on January 15 as part of a governmental delegation.During his visit, Modi highlighted the «positive» impact of the exit of French troops from the African country.»French troops have left Niger, the last [remaining] soldiers left on December 22. When it comes to how this factor affects our national security, it should be noted that the withdrawal of the troops has, on the one hand, given us a clear picture of the fight we are waging against terrorism and, on the other, has allowed us to realize our own responsibility [in the matter]. «We can say that their [French troops’] withdrawal has had a positive impact on our fight against terrorism,» he told Sputnik.

The French started the process of complete withdrawal of their military from the country following last summer's developments. On July 26, Niger's National Guard, led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani ousted and detained the then-President Mohamed Bazoum.

At the time, the rebels demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador and denounced military agreements previously signed with France, demanding a complete withdrawal of its troops from the country.AnalysisFrance Losing Great Power Status as Africa Turns to BRICS25 September 2023, 17:52 GMTIn turn, French officials have repeatedly stated that they only recognize demands made by the “legitimate” but ousted Nigerian authorities. Last September, however, France decided to recall its ambassador to Niger amid tensions between Paris and the new authorities.The withdrawal of France’s military presence began last October when French military units handed over control of a strategically important camp in the town of Ouallam (Tillaberi region) on the Mali border to the Niger Armed Forces. MultimediaHow France’s Military Presence in Africa is Dwindling21 December 2023, 10:33 GMTDuring talks between the top Russian and Nigerian military commands, the two sides additionally discussed enhancing the military potential of Niger’s Armed Forces.

"We have been in Moscow for 72 hours now as part of efforts to strengthen cooperation between our two countries, and this is the beginning of cooperation that is in the process of strengthening… As for security and defense, things are moving fast here — we have already held a number of meetings in Niamey, completed work on projects here in Moscow, and work on the capacity building of our armed forces will begin very soon," Modi added.

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