The discussions between the two militaries, according to Normand’s source, should not be seen as a recognition of the coup leaders but rather as a “technical” discussion…reports Asian Lite News
The United States is shifting troops from Niger’s capital, Niamey—where a coup occurred in July—to the Agadez region, according to the Pentagon.
With about 1,100 military personnel in Niger, the Defence Department notes that they’ve primarily remained on bases, reducing activities like joint training since the coup.
Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh emphasised that there is no immediate threat or violence against US personnel, characterizing the move as a precautionary measure.
A small contingent will remain at Air Base 101, while some non-essential personnel and contractors have already left the country.
Niger has been pivotal for American and French anti-jihadist efforts, and France is also discussing withdrawing parts of its presence there.
Nicolas Normand, a former French ambassador to Mali and Senegal, confirmed the information to Al Jazeera, stating that, in accordance with his sources, negotiations to “partially” evacuate soldiers between the French and Niger forces were in progress.
The discussions between the two militaries, according to Normand’s source, should not be seen as a recognition of the coup leaders but rather as a “technical” discussion.
France has been at odds with Niger’s new military leadership, after France’s refusal to accept the July 26 coup that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum, a French ally. French President Emmanuel Macron has continued to support Bazoum, who is still being held.
Thousands of people rallied for days in the capital Niamey in support of the new regime’s uncompromising attitude against the former colonial power and the coup leaders’ call for the French ambassador and military to leave Niger.
As part of France’s larger campaign against armed rebels in the Sahel region, about 1,500 French troops are stationed in Niger. After coups forced withdrawal of French forces from adjacent Mali and Burkina Faso, Niger became a crucial hub for France, Al Jazeera reported.