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French troops begin withdrawal from Niger

French troops begin withdrawal from Niger

FRENCH military convoys have begun withdrawing from bases in southwest Niger, marking the start of a departure demanded by Niger's junta that has dealt a further blow to France's influence in West Africa's conflict-hit Sahel region. Pickup trucks and armoured personnel carriers laden with French troops drove through the dusty outskirts of the capital Niamey on Tuesday, a Reuters reporter said, after the junta late on Monday said the withdrawal would kick off the following day. In a statement read on state television, the military government called for citizens' cooperation with the troop movements that it said would involve some…
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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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