During his trip to Niger Republic, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with reformed insurgent leaders who have completed a vocational training program funded by the US.
Blinken commended the program as a model for the region, which has suffered from militant attacks.
This marks the first visit to Niger by a US secretary of state and serves as a demonstration of support for President Mohamed Bazoum, who has allowed Western militaries to operate in his country.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso expelled French troops and turned to Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, a move that the US considers destabilising and has labelled the group as an international criminal organisation.
The presence of the Wagner group in the Sahel is intended to combat extremist violence, which poses a threat to the Gulf of Guinea. Later, Blinken met with President Bazoum on Thursday evening.
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