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Russian troop arrival spells end for US military presence in Niger | FT - 2 days ago |

The Russian plane landed at the international airport in Niger's capital Niamey at about midnight with little fanfare, ferrying anti-aircraft defence systems and troops to Moscow's newest ally in the Sahel.

The arrival of the 100 soldiers this month was the final death knell for the presence of US forces, who have been based in the west African nation since 2013 -- and underscored Niger's determination to diversify its security partnerships beyond the west.

It also marked another strategic victory for Moscow in the Sahel, the semi-arid strip south of the Sahara, where military governments have increasingly shunned their traditional western allies in favour of new alliances with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The shifting ties come as a wave of insecurity and terror continues to afflict the Sahel, where al-Qaeda and Isis-linked Islamist insurgents have unleashed havoc from Niger to Burkina Faso and Mali for more than a decade. Military juntas have seized power in all three countries as popular discontent swelled over the failure of democratic governments and the west to stem the violence.


The withdrawal of US troops from Niger was set in motion in March when a junta spokesperson described the military deal between the two as illegal and said it "violates all constitutional rules".

The relationship worsened during a visit by US officials - including assistant secretary of state for African affairs Molly Phee and head of the US-Africa Command General Michael Langley - to Niamey . Nigerien officials said the US delegation was "condescending", and rebuffed their attempts to meet junta leader General Omar Tchiani.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Apr 25th, 2024 at 06:55:11 PM EST

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