Protesters in Niger Demand Withdrawal of US Soldiers

Thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Niger’s capital on Saturday, calling for the immediate withdrawal of US soldiers from the northern region.
The protest comes after the military junta in Niamey announced its withdrawal from a longstanding military agreement with Washington, a move that has stirred significant public outcry.
Since the July coup, Niger has been vocal about its intention to terminate the 2012 cooperation agreement with the United States, citing it as “unilaterally imposed” by the US.
The protest, which took place in front of the National Assembly Headquarters in Niamey, drew students and several prominent figures from the military regime.
Chants of “Down with American imperialism” and “The people’s liberation is on the march” echoed through the crowd as demonstrators voiced their discontent.
The expulsion of French troops at the end of 2023 had already strained international relations, leaving approximately 1,000 American soldiers stationed in Agadez city in the north.
In late March, Niger announced that the US would submit a proposal to “disengage” its soldiers from the country. While Washington declined to comment publicly, it expressed a desire to seek clarification from Nigerian authorities.
Prominent religious leader Sheikh Ahmadou Mamoudou joined the chorus of voices demanding the swift withdrawal of American troops, urging them to leave peacefully and expeditiously.
“They said they (the Americans) were going to leave, so let them leave in peace and quickly,” shouted Sheikh Ahmadou Mamoudou, a well-known religious leader.
While flags from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Russia waved in the air, organizers urged demonstrators to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric or actions such as burning US flags.
Niger’s decision to join forces with Mali and Burkina Faso in establishing a joint anti-jihadist force in March reflects a shift away from former colonial power France.
Instead, the country has sought to strengthen its ties with Russia, aligning itself with regional partners to address the ongoing security challenges posed by jihadist rebellions.
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