Niger: French troops stand their ground despite multiple protests

Niger: French troops stand their ground despite multiple protests

Thousands demonstrated in Niamey, in front of a military base where French troops are operating, reports African News and agencies, September 17. 

The presence of around 1,500 French army personnel in Niger continues to stoke anger as protests attracting crowds of up to 10,000 people have called on French troops to be expelled from Niger, a French colony until 1960. 

Yahya Garba, a protester in the Nigerien capital, is angry at Paris’ refusal to withdraw troops. 

Garba told reporters, “”Enough is enough. All Macron has to do is take his macronis (the French President’s supporters and allies) and his clicks and clacs. All they have to do is go back to their so-called country, France.” 

READ: Niger Protests Surge for French Troop Exit

The airbase where France’s troops are based is a stone’s throw away from Niamey Airport, the biggest commercial airport in the West African country. 

Garba added, “People always say that we Africans are the last in the world. But we ask them to leave and they refuse. They are rotting over there, and we won’t give them peace until the day they leave.”. 

Niger’s coup leaders revoked  military agreements with the country however Paris dismissed this saying that it did not recognise them as legitimate authorities.   

The junta-led country has been under military rule since July 26, when a coup d’etat ousted Niger’s democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum. 

Bazoum is a French ally and according to Macron, the pair have spoken “every day” since the Nigerien President’s removal from power. 

In a speech last month discussing Niger and its new rulers, President Macron said, “We do not recognise the putschists, we support a president who has not resigned, who we remain committed to. And we support the diplomatic action and military action should it be the case, of ECOWAS, within a partnership approach which is the one I presented last February.” 

Niger’s anti-French sentiment is loud and clear. In August of this year, in a letter written by the junta addressed to France’s ambassador to the African country Sylvain Itte, it called on him to leave Niger within 48 hours. 

Itte left the country on September 14, a few weeks after the threatening letter. 

The demonstrators’ message is clear, “Down with France, down with its President, its politics and its army” 



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