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Niger Protesters Demand Withdrawal of US Troops Amidst Security Shifts

Protesters in Niger Republic expressed their disapproval of the United States military presence in the country on Sunday, calling for their departure. The US had announced plans to withdraw over 1,000 soldiers based in Niger, primarily for drone operations, at an estimated cost of $100 million.

In Agadez, where a US air base is located, hundreds of protesters gathered to demand the removal of American forces. The demonstrations were organized by a coalition of civil society groups that have backed the current military regime since it took power last year. Some protesters were quoted by AFP as saying, “Our message is clear: American soldiers, pack your bags and go home.”

The decision to withdraw US troops followed the termination of a defence agreement by the Nigerien military, which claimed the presence of US troops was illegal. This move reflects the sentiments of some Nigeriens who believe that foreign military presence, including that of the United States and France, does not enhance their security.

Meanwhile, Russia has been increasing its involvement in Niger, with military instructors providing equipment, including an air defence system. This development highlights the evolving geopolitical landscape in the region, with Russia expanding its influence in Africa, particularly in Niger and Mali.

Even with the withdrawal of US troops, Niger continues to grapple with security challenges from jihadist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, particularly in the southeastern region near Nigeria.

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