In a significant development, a French military convoy is set to depart Niger for Chad in the coming days, marking the halfway point in the promised withdrawal of the 1,450 French troops stationed in Niger. This update was provided by Niger’s Colonel Mamane Sani Kaiou on Friday.
Last week, the French military initiated the departure from bases in southwest Niger, a move instigated by Niger’s junta, further diminishing France’s influence in the conflict-prone Sahel region of West Africa.
Colonel Kaiou revealed, “As of today, 282 people have left. In the next few days, close to 400 or more troops will be leaving, bringing the troops here in Niger down to half of the 1,450.”
During a joint press conference with the commander of France’s Sahel forces, French General Eric Ozanne shared that a convoy that left last week had reached Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, and the journey proceeded smoothly. He commended the careful planning by Niger authorities and anticipated a similar approach for future convoys.
Following persistent pressure from military officers who seized power in July, France agreed last month to withdraw its troops stationed in Niger by the year’s end. This decision signifies a definitive rupture in military ties with its former colony as anti-French sentiment surges in the region.
General Ozanne clarified that the troops withdrawing through Chad would not remain there, emphasising, “This is not the repositioning of our operations from Niger to Chad.” The primary objective remains to complete the withdrawal from Niger by December 31.