Thousands protest in the Niger Republic for US troops to go

Thousands of people rallied in Niger’s capital on Saturday, demanding the quick departure of US soldiers from the north, after the military junta in Niamey announced its withdrawal from a military pact with Washington.

Following a July coup, the West African country claimed in mid-March that the 2012 cooperation pact was “unilaterally imposed” by the US.

The crowd in front of the National Assembly Headquarters in Niamey included students as well as numerous important people from the military leadership.

“Down with American imperialism” and “The people’s liberation is on the march” were chanted by the audience.

French troops were expelled by the end of 2023, but approximately 1,000 American soldiers are still stationed in Agadez, in the north.

In late March, Niger announced that the US would submit a proposal to “disengage” its personnel from the country. Washington declined to comment, but stated that it had contacted Niger to “obtain clarification”.

“They (the Americans) said they were going to leave, so let them leave in peace and quickly,” exclaimed Sheikh Ahmadou Mamoudou, a well-known religious leader.

Flags from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Russia were visible, but organizers begged marchers not to use derogatory chants or burn the US flag.

In March, Niger formed a unified army with neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso to combat the three countries’ long-running terrorist rebellions.

The three countries have abandoned erstwhile colonial power France in favour of closer ties with Russia.


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