France to pull troops out of Niger following coup

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(VOVWORLD) - France will pull its soldiers out of Niger following a July coup in the West African country, President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday, dealing a huge blow to counter-insurgency operations in the Sahel region.
France to pull troops out of Niger following coup - ảnh 1French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: Internet)

Macron said 1,500 troops would withdraw by the end of the year and that France refused to “be held hostage by the putchists”.

 France’s exit, which comes after weeks of pressure from the junta and popular demonstrations, is likely to exacerbate Western concerns as the Russian mercenary force Wagner already present in Niger’s neighbour Mali. 

The French president has refused to recognise the junta as Niger’s legitimate authority but said Paris would coordinate troop withdraw with the coup leaders.

France’s ambassador was also being pulled out and would return to the country in the next few hours, Macron added.

Until the coup, Niger had remained a key security partner of France and the United States, which have used it as a base to fight an Islamist insurgency in West and Central Africa's wider Sahel region.