Conflicts & War

Thousands of Nigerians demand France’s exit from Niger

Niamey, Aug 31 (EFE).- Thousands of demostrators gathered in Niamey on Friday to express their support for the military board that has ruled Niger since the coup d’état of June 26, and to demand the immediate withdrawal of French troops and diplomats who refuse to leave the country.

The enraged demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Down with imperialism,” “French soldiers, Niger is a sovereign country, leave!” and “Macron, Niger is not your property.”

The demonstration, took place near the 101st French Army Air Base in Niamey, and was attended by Niger’s top Muslim leaders, who prayed for the country’s protection from the “enemies of peace.”

In his sermon, Issaka Hassane Karanta, president of the Islamic Council of Niger (CSN), criticized the attitude of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which imposed sanctions on the coup plotters and threatened the use of force to restore constitutional order in Niger.

“We are peaceful and just people, and God is always on the side of the just. He will protect us against all forms of internal and external aggression,” said the imam.

According to the organizers, the mobilization in front of the French military base will last until dawn.

On Saturday, the “biggest” rally since the coup will take place, according to Habibou Abdou, one of the protest organizers.

The French air base, annexed to the Diori Hamani airport and shared with the Nigerian Army, is located on the outskirts of Niamey.

French forces of the Barkhane anti-terrorist unit have been deployed there since 2013, following agreements signed with the previous government of the African country.

Paris has about 1,500 troops in Niger, the last Sahel country next to Chad where it has a military presence, after leaving Mali and Burkina Faso due to coups d’état that led military juntas to power. EFE


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