After Emmanuel Macron’s announcements of the recall of the French ambassador to Niamey and the withdrawal of French troops from the country, M62 activists exult in front of the French air base.
“It’s as if, in our minds, the country has been liberated.” Abdouramanou is jubilant, in his taxi decorated with the colors of Niger. He takes part in the party, in front of the headquarters of the M62, this coalition of civil society organizations hostile to the French military presence in the country.
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Because after two months of a standoff between the military junta which took power in Niger and the French authorities, Sunday September 24, in the interview he gave to France 2 and TF1, Emmanuel Macron ended up announce the return to Paris of its ambassador and the withdrawal of the 1,500 French soldiers deployed in the fight against terrorism in the country, by the end of the year.
The announcement was obviously welcomed with joy by the supporters of the putschists, in particular the M62 activists. “We are very happy. It’s a national pride”continues Abdouramanou.
“The French army, we did not see their usefulness in our country. So, they must leave. We are capable of defending ourselves.”Abdouramanou, supporter of the M62
In Niamey, hundreds of demonstrators have been holding the street in front of the air base where some of the French soldiers are stationed for two months. In recent weeks, the putschists have further increased their pressure on the military camp and the French embassy by prohibiting all water and food supplies in the Plateau district.
Oumarou Harouna is preparing to spend another night in front of the air base. Tea, a carpet and a flag… He promises to stay there until the French soldiers leave. “It’s been more than 60 years since France colonized us and refuses to let us be free. All relations between Niger and France, we want it to end within a week”, he says. President Emmanuel Macron is counting on a withdrawal completed by the end of the year.
“We request the presence of Wagner”
Disappointed by France, Oumarou Harouna now wants to turn to Russia to lead the fight against terrorism. “Russia is a country with which we can work. We want relations between Moscow and Niamey. Moscow has affection for the African peoplehe believes. We are asking to have Wagner present. [Le groupe] can effectively fight terrorism in the Sahel, not just in Niger”affirms this supporter of the M62, even though in Mali, abuses by the militia against civilians are increasing.
But in the meantime, in Niamey, there is no question of releasing the pressure against France. A major meeting of the movement is even scheduled for Sunday, October 1, to celebrate their victory.