Niger: Demonstrators take to the streets in protest against foreign forces

Demonstrators take to the
Sam Mednick

Demonstrators take to the streets: Protests against foreign forces, especially the United States military, which has a base in northern Niger, drew hundreds of people to the heart of Niamey, the capital city of Niger.

Many members of the ruling military junta of Niger took part in the protest, which was organized by civil society groups affiliated with them.

On behalf of the demonstrators, Abdoulaziz Yaya demanded that all foreign forces, including those from the United States, leave Niger immediately. According to him, the CNSP, the reigning military junta, has heard their concerns and is fully behind the decision to withdraw foreign personnel.

At the same time as this protest is taking place, Niger is choosing to work more closely with Russia on security matters rather than the United States in its fight against terrorism.

Moumouni Amadou Gado, a protest organizer, emphasized the benefits of working with Russia rather than dealing with American forces. He contrasted the seeming failure to address insecurity during the years of American influence with the Russian involvement, emphasizing that it implies a win-win partnership.

The presence of Russian forces has further complicated matters for the U.S. military, diplomatic, and civilian personnel stationed in Niger, even though the CNSP, the country’s governing military council, has not yet mandated the removal of American troops.

The future of joint Niger-U.S. counterinsurgency operations and the relationship between the two countries are both cast into doubt by the presence of Russian forces.

The United States has long seen Niger as an important ally and has spent much on counterinsurgency operations there, such as training Nigerien soldiers to fight terrorist organizations linked to al-Qaida and ISIS.

Following last summer’s coup, however, ties between the junta and Washington deteriorated, and the junta criticized the United States for cautions against cooperation with Russia and Iran.

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