Supporters of Niger Coup Call For Large Scale Mobilization of Combatants1

Niger Accuses France Of Amassing Troops, Equipment in ECOWAS States

The military of Niger says that France is putting together troops and supplies in several West African countries in order to start a “military intervention” against Niamey.

Colonel Amadou Abdramane, a spokeswoman for the people who led the coup in Niger, said this on national TV late Saturday night.

He said that France was still putting troops in countries that were part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) because it was “getting ready for an attack on Niger, which it is planning with this community group.”

“French military cargo aircraft have made it possible to unload a lot of war supplies and equipment in Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Benin, just to name a few places,” he said.

After a military coup on July 26, relations between Niger and France, its former colonial power, are rising.

Niger has asked France to remove its troops and diplomats from the Sahel state, but Paris has stood by ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

Niger is also in a standoff with the ECOWAS group, which has warned to use force if diplomatic efforts to get Bazoum back in office fail.

In Niamey, thousands of people have been protesting almost every day around a military base where French soldiers are stationed to ask them to leave. About 1,500 French troops are in the country as part of a larger fight against groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).

The AFP news agency heard on Tuesday from a source in the French defense ministry that Paris was in talks with the military regime about pulling “elements” of its force out of Niger.

The words seemed to back up what military-appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine had said, which was that talks were going on about a “very swift” withdrawal of French troops.

Zeine also said that his government wanted to “keep working with a country we have a lot in common with” and that he was “hopeful” that ECOWAS would come to an agreement.

The US has about 1,100 soldiers in Niger. This week, the US Department of Defense said that the troops are being moved “as a precaution” from Niamey to Agadez, which is in the middle of the country.