Nigerians demand departure of United States troops

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Nigeriens gather in a street to protest against the U.S. military presence, in Niamey, Niger April 13, 2024. REUTERS/Mahamadou Hamidou

Hundreds of Nigerians protesters have taken to the street of Niger’s capital to demand the departure of United States (US) troops, after the military government further shifted its strategy by ending a military accord with the US and welcoming Russian military instructors.

The crowd on Saturday waved Nigerien flags in a demonstration that recalled anti-French protest that spurred the withdrawal of Frances force from Niger last year after the army seized power in a coup.

“We are here to say no to the American base, we don’t want American on our soil,” said one of the protesters Maria Saley.

The crowd was chanting “Down with American imperialism” and” The people’s liberation is on the march.”

Niger had remained a key security partner of France and the US, which used it as a base as part of international efforts to curb a decade-old rebellion in West Africa’s Sahel region.

In March the country suspended its military agreement with the US. The US military had some 650 personnel working in Niger in December, according to a White House report to Congress.

The military of US operates a major airbase in the Niger city of Agadez, some 920 kilometres from Naimey, using it for manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other operations.

A drone base known as Air Base 201 near Agadez was also built at a cost of more than $100 million. Since 2018 the base has been used to target lsil (Isis) fighters and Jama at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, an al-Qaeda affiliate, in the Sahel region.

France also agreed to withdraw its troops last September in the wake of July coup that overthrew democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum-Al.

Source:Reuters

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