Niger Protesters Demand Withdrawal of US Troops

Sun Apr 21 2024
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NIAMEY: Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets on Sunday in Niger to voice their opposition to the presence of US troops in the country, as a delegation from Washington is expected to arrange the orderly withdrawal of American forces.

The protest, held in the northern desert town of Agadez, where a US air base is located, was organized by a coalition of 24 civil society associations that have supported the military regime since last year’s coup.

Carrying banners with slogans like “This is Agadez, not Washington, US army go home,” protesters made their discontent clear, calling for the departure of American soldiers from their soil.

Issouf Emoud, representing the M62 Movement in Agadez, emphasized the demonstrators’ message: “American soldiers pack your bags and go home.” Emoud had previously led demonstrations demanding the exit of French forces, which withdrew from Niger last year.

The United States had announced its agreement to withdraw over 1,000 troops from Niger, where it had established a $100 million base for drone operations. The decision comes after the Nigerien military terminated a defense agreement with the US, asserting that the troop presence was imposed and illegal.

Civil society leader Amobi Arandishu criticized the US military deployment, stating that it was ineffective for Niger’s security needs amidst ongoing unrest in the region.

Meanwhile, Niger has seen a shifting geopolitical landscape, with Russia expanding its presence in the country by providing military support, including air defense systems. The US withdrawal marks a significant regional development, with Russia gaining influence in the region, particularly amid ongoing security challenges.


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