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France plans to close embassy in Niger following coup, letter shows

France plans to close embassy in Niger following coup, letter shows

FRANCE is planning to close its embassy in Niger for an indefinite period as it is unable to carry out diplomatic tasks due to restrictions imposed by the ruling junta, a French embassy letter to its Niger staff dated Tuesday and seen by Reuters showed. Relations between Niger and France, its former colonial ruler, have broken down since army officers toppled President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power in a coup in July. Following the strategy of juntas in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, they ordered police to expel France's ambassador Sylvain Itte and called for the departure of French troops from its territory. France…
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Burkina Faso marks official end of French military operations on its soil

Burkina Faso marks official end of French military operations on its soil

THIAM NDIAGA FRANCE and Burkina Faso have officially marked the end of French military operations in the West African nation, the Burkinabe armed forces said, after a flag-lowering ceremony at the French special forces' camp a day earlier. In January, Burkina Faso gave France one month to withdraw its troops as it ended a military accord that allowed French troops to fight insurgents on its territory, citing a wish for the country to defend itself. Their departure marks a new chapter in Burkina's battle with Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have taken over large swathes of land…
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France eyes Ivory Coast after Burkina Faso boots out French troops

France eyes Ivory Coast after Burkina Faso boots out French troops

ANGE ABOA and THIAM NDIAGA FRANCE'S defence minister pledged to boost military support to Ivory Coast, as Paris adjusts its strategy in West Africa after neighbouring Burkina Faso ordered French troops to leave and vowed to curb a worsening Islamist insurgency solo. Burkina Faso said on Sunday that France's military operations on its soil had officially ended - marking the start of a new chapter in the Sahel region's battle with Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State. The two jihadist groups have taken over swathes of land and displaced millions of people in Burkina, Mali and Niger. It is…
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Burkina Faso military government demands departure of French troops

Burkina Faso military government demands departure of French troops

BURKINA Faso's military government has demanded the departure of French troops stationed in the country, the West African nation's national television reported, citing a local news agency. A spokesman for the government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the French government was not immediately available for comment. A source close to the Burkina Faso military government confirmed the news of the demand for the departure of French troops but gave no further details. Burkina Faso's state television RTB, citing the news agency, said the military government on January 18 suspended a 2018 military accord…
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Ahead of Mali withdraw, France prepares future Sahel strategy

Ahead of Mali withdraw, France prepares future Sahel strategy

JOHN IRISH FRENCH officials head to Niger to redefine the country's strategy to fight Islamist militants in the Sahel as thousands of troops complete a withdrawal from Mali and concerns mount over the growing threat to coastal West African states. Coups in Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso have weakened France's alliances in its former colonies, emboldened jihadists who control large swathes of desert and scrubland, and opened the door to greater Russian influence. Concerns have grown that the exit of 2,400 French troops from Mali - the epicentre of violence in the Sahel region and strongholds of both al Qaeda…
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France’s Macron wants ‘rethink’ of French military postures in Africa

France’s Macron wants ‘rethink’ of French military postures in Africa

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted a "rethink of all our (military) postures on the African continent" and had asked his ministers and army chiefs to work on it. Macron made the comments as he was addressing French troops ahead of the July 14 Bastille Day parade in Paris. French officials head to Niger on Friday to redefine the country's strategy to fight Islamist militants in the Sahel as thousands of troops complete a withdrawal from Mali and concerns mount over the growing threat to coastal West African states. Thomson Reuters Foundation
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France to pull some troops out of Sahel

France to pull some troops out of Sahel

JOHN IRISH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron has opened the door to withdrawing some troops from Africa's Sahel region, saying France could "adjust" its operations after successes against Islamist militants and the arrival of more European forces. France, the former colonial power, has the West's largest military presence waging counter-insurgency operations in Mali and the wider Sahel, an arid region of west Africa just below the Sahara desert. Last year, Paris boosted its troop numbers for its Barkhane counter-terrorism operations by 600 to 5,100 soldiers. "The temporary reinforcements that I decided to deploy have enabled the Barkhane force to put in great…
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Suicide bomber wounds French troops in central Mali

Suicide bomber wounds French troops in central Mali

A suicide bomber in a car attacked a French reconnaissance mission in central Mali yesterday, wounding some of the soldiers and local residents, the French army said. The French military did not say how many were hurt, but the mayor of the town of Gossi, where the attack happened, said he had heard many people were wounded. "The detonation was so loud it blew out the windows of some houses," said the mayor, Moussa Ag Almouner. "We still hear shots, planes flying over the place." No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Islamist militant groups linked to al Qaeda…
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