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Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors

Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors www.whoownsafrica.com Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors www.whoownsafrica.com
Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors www.whoownsafrica.com

The recent arrival of military instructors and personnel from Russia’s Defense Ministry in Niger marks a significant milestone in the deepening relationship between the West African country and Moscow.

This move highlights the growing trend of Niger, like its junta-led neighbors, turning to Russia for enhanced military cooperation.

Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors www.whoownsafrica.com
Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors www.whoownsafrica.com

The deployment of Russian instructors in Niger comes on the heels of a recent agreement between the Nigerien junta and Russian President Vladimir Putin, signaling a strategic shift towards closer ties with Moscow.

The arrival of the instructors was captured on Niger state television RTN, which showcased footage of a military cargo plane unloading gear and personnel in fatigues standing by.

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In a statement to RTN, one of the Russian instructors emphasized their mission to train the Nigerien army and strengthen military cooperation between Russia and Niger.

Additionally, it was reported that Russia had agreed to install an anti-aircraft system in Niger, further enhancing the country’s defense capabilities.

The Pentagon’s concerns about potential ties with Russia in Niger were not unfounded, as a series of military coups in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso have led to a shift in alliances and increased instability in the region.

These coups have not only resulted in the termination of military agreements with traditional allies like France but have also seen a deepening of relations with Russia and the formation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

The violence in the region has only escalated since the coups, with conflict fatalities rising by 38% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Reports indicate over 8,000 deaths in Burkina Faso alone last year, painting a grim picture of the situation in the central Sahel.

Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors www.whoownsafrica.com
Niger enhances military ties with arrival of Russian instructors www.whoownsafrica.com

This instability has further exacerbated the already dire humanitarian crisis in the region near the Sahara desert, which is home to some of the poorest populations in the world.

By March, over 3 million people had been displaced, highlighting the urgent need for international intervention and support to address the complex challenges facing the Sahel region.

While Russia has not yet issued an official comment on the matter, its active efforts to expand its influence in Africa are evident. By positioning itself as a friendly nation with no colonial background on the continent, Russia is presenting itself as a reliable partner for African countries looking to strengthen their defense capabilities.

The decision by Niger to revoke its military accord with the United States in mid-March, which had allowed Pentagon personnel to operate on its soil from two bases, including a drone base worth over $100 million, further underscores the country’s shift towards closer ties with Russia.


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