Niger’s new leadership—that has been in place after the July coup in the former French colony—has accused Paris of amassing forces and military equipment in nearby countries—raising the risk of a military intervention that could further destabilize the country.
“France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger, which it is planning in collaboration with this community organization,” a spokesman for the country’s new leadership said.
France 24 reported that the coup leaders have accused France of positioning military aircraft, helicopters, and 40 armored vehicles inside Cote d’Ivoire and Benin. Paris does not consider the country’s sitting leadership as legitimate.
There have been demonstrations outside the military base in Niamey that houses French soldiers and have called for them to exit the country. There are about 1,500 French troops still inside the country.
Al Jazeera described one of the protests that included demonstrators slitting the throat of a goat that was wearing the French colors.
“We are ready to sacrifice ourselves today because we are proud. They plundered our resources, and we became aware. So they’re going to get out,” one protester told the outlet.
The coup followed similar upheavals in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Gen. Abdourahmane Tiani, the head of the presidential guard, has declared himself leader. President Mohamed Bazoum, a major ally of the U.S. and France was elected in 2021 and ousted in July.
France continues to support Bazoum and has called for his release from house arrest.
Bazoum was seen as a puppet for Paris, which exploited uranium from the country.
President Emmanuel Macron said the redeployment of troops would only occur upon request from the deposed head of state, according to Africa News.
“Since last July, a coup d’état has been holding a democratically elected president hostage. France’s position is simple: we condemn it, we call for the release of President Bazoum and the restoration of constitutional order, and we do not recognize the legitimacy of the putschists’ declarations, since President Bazoum has not relinquished power,” Macron said. “And so, if we redeploy anything, I would only do so at President Bazoum’s request and in coordination with him, not with officials who today are taking a president hostage. On this subject, from day one, France has been coordinating with all the presidents of the region and the heads of state and government, and we fully support the positions of ECOWAS.”
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the coup in Niger and how France and the U.S. are dealing with another “friendly” government collapse in the region. Of course, Paris doesn’t care about civilians in the country or any kind of peace effort. France, which needs uranium to keep its nuclear power plants humming in its former colony, and the U.S., which has about 1,100 troops there to “fight terrorists” in the Sahel, tremble at the thought of Russia becoming more influential there. (See “NIGER COUP: ENOUGH OF THE WEST, MOVING TOWARD RUSSIA. EU/FRANCE WANT ITS URANIUM” 1 Aug 2023, “FRANCE CALLS NIGER COUP LEADERS ILLEGITIMATE, WILL KEEP FORCES IN COUNTRY” 8 Aug 2023 and, “NIGER JUNTA EMERGES UNSCATHED AFTER THREAT OF MILITARY INTERVENTION FROM ECOWAS” 8 Aug 2023.)
Niger and Gabon are the latest former French colonies in Africa to fall to a coup, following Chad, Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. The BBC noted that since 1990, 78 percent of the 27 coups in sub-Saharan Africa have occurred in Francophone states.