Hundreds rally in Niger demanding withdrawal of US troops | Demonstrations in News

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In a bold move, Niger suspended its military cooperation with the US in March, sparking widespread protests in the capital city of Niamey. The military government leaders had previously cut ties with France, causing US military personnel to be unwelcome in the country. In response, hundreds of protesters took to the streets demanding the departure of United States troops, waving Nigerien flags and chanting anti-American slogans.

The decision to end the military accord with the US came as a surprise to many, as Niger had previously been a key security partner to both France and the US in efforts to combat a decade-long rebellion in the Sahel region. The US had around 1,000 military personnel in Niger operating out of two bases, including a major airbase in Agadez used for surveillance flights and other operations.

France had also agreed to withdraw its troops following a coup in July that ousted the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum. The new authorities in Niger aligned themselves with military-run governments in Mali and Burkina Faso, ending military deals with Western allies and seeking closer ties with Russia.

The arrival of Russian military instructors and equipment in Niger signaled a shift towards cooperation with Moscow, despite concerns from some citizens about the possibility of Russian military bases being established in the country. The pro-Russian sentiment at the protests was evident, but there were also calls for caution to prevent foreign occupation similar to what happened with France and the US.

It remains uncertain when or if US troops will leave Niger, but the country’s ties with Russia and the rejection of Western military presence have paved the way for a new chapter in Niger’s foreign relations.

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