Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

ABUJA, Nigeria — Niger’s junta on Monday scrapped two key army agreements that the West African nation signed with the European Union to assist battle the violence in Africa’s Sahel area because the nation’s military leaders and a senior Russian protection official mentioned army cooperation.

Earlier than the coup that deposed the nation’s president, Mohamed Bazoum, Niger had been the West and Europe’s final main safety companion within the Sahel, the huge area south of the Sahara Desert that Islamic extremist teams have became the worldwide terror scorching spot.

In a memo, Niger’s international affairs ministry mentioned the federal government has determined to “withdraw the privileges and immunities granted” below the EU Army Partnership Mission in Niger that was launched in February and consequently “has no authorized obligation” associated to that partnership.

It additionally dismissed the EU Civilian Capability-Constructing Mission established in 2012 to strengthen Niger’s inside safety sector, successfully revoking its approval for the missions.

The developments are the most recent in rising political tensions between Niger and the EU for the reason that July coup.

In a uncommon go to on Sunday, a Russian delegation led by Russia’s Deputy Minister of Protection Lounous-Bek Evkourov met with Niger’s junta chief, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, and Minister of State for Nationwide Protection Salifou Mody. The 2 sides held extra conferences on Monday to debate army and protection points.

“On the heart of the discussions is the strengthening of cooperation between the 2 international locations within the subject of protection,” Niger’s protection ministry mentioned in a press release, hinting at formal political ties with Moscow, which has no embassy or army personnel within the nation.

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Most of Niger’s international financial and safety allies have sanctioned the nation, together with France, which had 1,500 troops working in Niger. All of them have been requested to go away.

Analysts say that though regional and worldwide sanctions to power the junta to reverse its coup have squeezed the nation, they’ve additionally emboldened the army authorities because it consolidates its maintain on energy and seeks new partnerships.

Russia has been lively in components of Africa by means of its non-public mercenary Wagner Group, from the Central African Republic, the place the mercenary forces have helped present safety companies to the federal government, to Mali, the place they’re partnering with the military in battling armed rebels and the place the Evkourov-led delegation additionally visited.

The Wagner group was one of many first sources of assist that the army leaders in Niger reached out to for help as they confronted a potential army intervention from West Africa’s regional bloc of ECOWAS in a bid to reverse the coup.


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