The French army has started leaving Niger.

According to the Ministry of the Armed Forces. 1,500 personnel would be evacuate starting “this week” and finishing “by the end of the year.” The animosity with the Nigerian coup leaders is still present while this departure takes place.

The French Ministry of the Armed Forces declared on Thursday. October 5 that it has formally started making plans. To withdraw 1,500 French soldiers in a news release of less than ten lines. These soldiers have been imprisone in Niger ever since the July 26 coup that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum. The pullout is schedule to begin “this week” in order to enable the return of all troops. “by the end of the year,” according to the statement.

This declaration comes just two weeks after Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, officially authorized the departure of the French soldiers on September 24. Since the beginning of August, the coup leaders in Niger have vehemently demanded this departure. The locations where the French forces were station were block off by the new Niger government during the two-month conflict. The soldiers are steadily deprive of water, food, fuel, and electricity due to this action.

Paris made no mention of the implementation of this disengagement. The Ministry of Defense only underlined that effective “coordination” with the troops of Niger is “essential to the success of this maneuver.” Despite Paris’s resignation and Sylvain Itté’s departure as France’s ambassador to Niamey on September 27, this statement alludes to the ongoing difficult relations between the coup leaders and the French authorities.

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Algerian mediation

The Nigerian government said in a statement on Thursday that the French pullout would have to happen on their “terms” and in their “interests.” The 400 French troops stationed in the country’s west were to be “the first ones to pack their bags,” according to the coup leaders in authority in Niamey. The Islamic State organization is active in that region of the country, which is known as the “three borders” region between Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali. The Niamey air base won’t be taken down until then. The majority of the 1,000 French soldiers are stationed at this location.

This order shouldn’t significantly impede French logistics planning. This is due to Niamey’s current concentration of the majority of France’s air resources. On the other hand, withdrawal is made more challenging by the junta’s prohibition on utilizing the road to Benin. French military materiel has been move through Cotonou for many years to reach the Sahel. One of the key ports utilized during the “Barkhane” operation’s dismantling in 2022 was Cotonou. General Mohamed Toumba, the new interior minister of Niger, warned on October 4 that the French could go “any direction except Benin.” He continue, “Your planes will be release at the last minute.”

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