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Thousands protest for US troops to leave Niger, days after Russians' arrival

The Niger junta recently announced plans to withdraw from the military agreement with Washington.

Thousands protest for US troops to leave Niger Republic, days after Russians' arrival

Protesters included students and several prominent figures from the military regime, who camped in front of the National Assembly Headquarters on Saturday, April 13, 2024, with placards bearing different anti-US inscriptions.

The charged crowd was chorusing “Down with American imperialism” and “The people’s liberation is on the march.

Sheikh Ahmadou Mamoudou, a prominent religious leader bellowed, “They said they (the Americans) were going to leave, so let them leave in peace and quickly.

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Flags from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Russia were hoisted but organisers cautioned demonstrators to refrain from chanting insulting slogans against the US or burning its flags.

The development comes a few days after dozens of Russian military instructors arrived in the West African country as part of a new agreement between the Niger junta and Moscow.

The Russian troops reportedly arrived along with a state-of-the-art air defence system they are expected to install and teach Niger's army how to use it.

However, a spokesperson for the junta, on Friday, April 12, 2024, confirmed the Russians were in Niger to train soldiers.

In mid-March, Niger announced plans to withdraw from the military agreement with Washington, claiming the 2012 cooperation agreement had been “unilaterally imposed” by the US.

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The West African country joined their counterparts in the Sahel region ruled by military authorities to have recently strengthened ties with Russia.

At the end of 2023, French troops were expelled from Niger but about 1,000 American soldiers remain based in Agadez city in the north.

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