French President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday that French troops would be withdrawn from Niger in the next couple of months, in the wake of a coup d’état in the Western African country this summer.
The military withdrawal from Niger comes after French troops were ousted from neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, amid growing anti-French sentiment across the continent and military failures in containing jihadist terrorism in the Sahel region.
Macron also said France would imminently withdraw its ambassador, who had been living under effective house arrest in the French embassy in the capital Niamey, according to French authorities.
“France has decided to withdraw its ambassador. In the next hours, our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France,” Macron said during an interview with French TV channels.
Macron also said the military cooperation between France and Niger was “over” and that French troops would return before the end of the year. “In the weeks and months to come, we will consult with the putschists, because we want this to be done peacefully,” he added.
The military junta, which came to power in July, had set France an ultimatum to withdraw its troops that were involved in anti-terrorist operations in North Africa. France at the time pledged not to withdraw troops unless requested by the deposed Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum.
1,500 French troops are stationed in several bases across Niger.
In the weeks after the coup, France also said it would consider supporting a possible military intervention launched by the African regional body ECOWAS against the putschists in Niamey. With the decision to withdraw, that prospect appears more and more unlikely.