By: Seringe ST Touray
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Sunday the imminent end of France’s military presence in Niger and the recall of its ambassador from the country. This decision comes in response to the removal of Niger’s ousted president in a coup.
This announcement marks a significant setback for France’s African policy, which has seen French troops withdraw from neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso in recent years following coups in those nations.
Since the coup in July, France had maintained approximately 1,500 troops in Niger. They had resisted multiple demands from the new junta to remove their ambassador, asserting that they did not recognize the coup leaders as legitimate.
Tensions between France and Niger, a former French colony, had been escalating in recent weeks. Macron had revealed that diplomats were experiencing difficult conditions, including reliance on military rations, as they remained holed up in the embassy.
In an interview with France-2 television, Macron revealed that he had spoken with ousted President Mohamed Bazoum on Sunday. He conveyed that “France has decided to bring back its ambassador, and in the coming hours, our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France.” He further stated, “And we will put an end to our military cooperation with the Niger authorities.”