How the junta in Niger defeated France

The French President was compelled to announce the evacuation of his soldiers and the recall of his ambassador. After two months of direct conflict with the ruling military in Niamey, marking a pivotal moment for the Sahel area.

The fast and forced withdrawal of the French troops stationed in Niger. And the equally hasty return to Paris of the French ambassador based in the Sahelian nation. Definitely appeared as victories from Niamey’s standpoint. France, the main ally of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, was compelled to submit by the junta after a two-month standoff. The dismissal of Bazoum on July 26 and his placement. Under house arrest were both reaffirmed by French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, September 24. Macron stated that Bazoum is “the only legitimate authority.” But the declaration of the French pullout demonstrates that the balance of power in Niamey has indeed shifted.

The Abdourahamane Tchiani-led military junta warmly embraced “this historic moment [marking] a new step towards Niger’s sovereignty.” On the morning of September 25, Aujourd’hui au Faso. Daily publication from Burkina Faso (a neighboring nation similarly ruled by its military), encapsulated a generally held belief. The media site claims that France’s previous unwillingness to bring home its ambassador and the 1,500 or so soldiers stationed there, as well as its decision to maintain them in Niger “against the will of the authorities, even if they are putschists and not recognized by France […] was untenable and inoperative.”

Since the coup, Niger has been exerting more pressure. As Brigade General Tchiani’s authority has grown with the backing of all army corps commanders-in-chief. Since President Bazoum is theoretically the commander-in-chief of an army that no longer obeys him. This unity has eliminated any chance of a quick return to power for him. Such was the vague goal France established, but not everyone in Niger, especially in Niamey, agreed with it.

Read more: In 2024, Russia intends to increase its military spending by 70%.

France’s hardliners have discovered they are alone.

At the French base’s entrances at Niamey’s international airport, there was also popular pressure, the level of which is impossible to assess. Security forces in Niger put a blockade on these two symbolic locations of French presence at the same time, limiting supplies and people’s ability to move about. Just a few hours prior to Macron’s address, Niamey made the most recent decision to ban “French aircraft or aircraft chartered by France, including those in the Air France fleet” from entering Niger’s airspace.

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