Niger military regime says French forces leaving ‘in the direction of Chad’Tue, 10 Oct 2023 20:55:42 GMT

French soldiers withdrew from their bases in Niger on Tuesday, with the first convoy to be escorted out by the country’s post-coup regime heading in the “direction of Chad”, authorities in Niamey said. “The troops based in Ouallam have left their base today. These are the operations for the departure of the first ground convoy in the direction of Chad, escorted by our defence and security forces,” Niger’s new rulers, which took power at the end of July, said in a statement on national television. In addition to the departure by land, “three special flights” have been registered at the airport in Niamey, two for the departure of “97 special forces elements” and one “dedicated to logistics”. The regime, which had assured the withdrawal would happen with “complete safety”, said that the disengagement would continue on “a timetable agreed to by both parties”. The withdrawal of French forces was quickly demanded by Niger’s new ruling generals after they took power on July 26, with French President Emmanuel Macron then confirming their departure at the end of September. Around 1,000 French troops were stationed in Niamey, with another 400 deployed at two forward bases in the northwest, near Mali and Burkina Faso, a hotbed of insurgent activity.