Russian military not present in Niger: Nigerien FM


Benghazi, Dec 30 (UNI)- Niger uses Russian weapons, but the Russian military is not present on the country’s soil, Nigerien Foreign Minister Bakary Yaou Sangare told Sputnik, adding that the Nigerien army is able to defend its territory on its own.

“Nowadays our relations with Russia are military cooperation, as all our weaponry is Russian. That is, we need to maintain relations with Russia to ensure this [weapons provision], but we do not have any [Russian] military on our land. We do not need it… Our army can defend its territory on its own,” the minister said.

Niger forced the withdrawal of the French military with no intention of inviting other military personnel to the country, he said, adding that the country was in need of developing relations in intelligence, arms and logistics, but not in the field of armed forces.

A coup took place in Niger on July 26. Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted and detained by his own guard, led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani. The general announced the establishment of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland and signed a decree on the formation of a new transitional government.

Following the military takeover, France withdrew troops from the country. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on its part, suspended all cooperation with Niger and threatened military intervention if the rebels did not reinstate Bazoum. On December 23, French radio RFI reported that Niger and ECOWAS were negotiating a transition period in the country.

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