Tue. May 28th, 2024

Niger’s ruling junta has doubled down on its demand that US troops withdraw, dealing a blow to Washington’s security interests in the Sahel.

Last month, military leader General Abdourahamane Tiani ordered US troops to leave after ending a military agreement.

At least 650 US personnel are stationed in Niger to monitor jihadist activity.

In a statement on Sunday, Niger’s junta said they had not benefited from the US military deal as it “turned out to be a fool’s bargain”.

It accused the US of exploiting Niger and interfering in its internal affairs and seeking to control its foreign relations.

“How can we talk about the interests of Niger, when the Americans stationed here refuse to provide us with the coordinates of the bases of the terrorists who mourn us daily?” the statement said.

“How can we talk about the interests of Niger when the United States of America does not pay a single kopeck [Russian unit of money] to Niger for stationing its forces on our territory?”

The US State Department and Pentagon have downplayed Niger’s rejection of the military agreement, saying that talks between the two countries were continuing.

Niger’s military junta initially appeared to have a favourable stance towards the US, but has turned to Russia after severing ties with France last year.

By Joy

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