Niger: Protesters demand US troops leave; Russian instructors arrive

Niger: Protesters demand US troops leave; Russian instructors arrive

Hundreds of Nigeriens demonstrated in the streets of the capital Niamey Saturday, demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops following the ruling junta's decision to terminate a military agreement with the United States and welcome Russian military instructors, Reuters reports.

The demonstration evoked anti-French protests which helped prompt the withdrawal of French forces last year. Signs, including one reading "USA rush out of Niger," expressed solidarity with the junta's mid-March decision to revoke an agreement allowing approximately 1,000 U.S. military personnel to operate from two bases on its soil, including a drone base build at a cost of more than $100 million.

Earlier this week, Russian military instructors arrived in Niger, the country’s state television reported, showing footage of personnel next to a military cargo plane.

Previously a crucial security ally of France and the United States in efforts to combat a decade-long Islamist insurgency in West Africa's Sahel region, Niger has now aligned itself with neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso in terminating military agreements with Western nations and drawing closer to Russia.

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