Niger’s parliament will for the first time discuss the presence of foreign forces fighting insurgents in the country.
Government noted that there’s a widespread perception that the foreign troop, who work with the national army, are “occupying forces”
Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou said “It is important that the Nigerien people, through the parliament, speak clearly on the issue.”
“The debate will take place in a few days,” he added.
German minister on visit Annalena Baerbock said Niger sought “an increase in the intervention of our partners”.
“With the departure of French forces from northern Mali, we expect greater pressure from terrorists in our country,” he said.
The parliament in Niamey is dominated by allies of President Mohamed Bazoum. Niger has the support of several Western nations in its battle against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents, including the United States,Italy, Canada and France, which have military bases in the capital and the Agadez region in the north.
Foreign troop from Germany, which runs a logistics outpost in Niamey, has set up a centre close to the border with Mali to train Nigerien special forces.
Many NGOs in the country consider the foreign troop as occupiers who threaten national sovereignty in a country struggling with poor human development indices according to the UN.
Such criticism led Bazoum to announce at the end of February that he would ask parliament if it agreed with “arrangements” that were to be made with foreign partners to help tackle insurgency.
French army chief of staff general Thierry Burkhard met his Nigerien counterpart general Salifou Modi in Niamey at the end of March to discuss what he said was “the type of aid that the French army could bring”. Those arrangements have yet to be made public.
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