Fewer drones, aerial assets: France plans reduction of military presence in Niger


Amid continuing talks on the future role of French troops in Niger, a source told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday that France plans to reduce its military presence in the West African nation. The negotiations come after Niger’s military junta, which seized power in a July 26 coup, called for the “swift” departure of French forces.

The source told FRANCE 24 that France is preparing to withdraw most of its drones and aerial reconnaissance assets from Niger while maintaining an "autonomous force" in the country.

"The French army was there [in Niger] to carry out anti-terrorist operations. As this is no longer the case, some of our resources are no longer needed, so we're going to be streamlining," said the source, adding that the capacity to carry out attacks and defensive maneuvers "autonomously" will nevertheless be maintained, with some French soldiers remaining on site.

Around 1,500 French troops are currently deployed at three bases in Niger as part of France's wider fight against jihadists in the Sahel region.

Relations between France and its former colony rapidly deteriorated after a July 26 coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

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