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Russian military instructors arrive in Niger to train army, deepen ties



Russian military instructors have arrived in Niger Republic to train the West African nation’s army and deepen security ties with Moscow, as announced by Nigerien state TV RTN late Thursday evening.

The Sahel broadcaster aired footage of a Russian transport plane touching down at the airport in Niamey, Niger’s capital, on Wednesday night, carrying “the latest military equipment and military instructors from the Russian defence ministry.”

This deployment is part of a recent agreement between Niger and Russia to enhance cooperation, particularly as Niger grapples with jihadist rebellions.

Following the expulsion of French forces aiding in counterterrorism efforts, Niger’s military government, in January, opted to intensify military collaboration with Russia.

France had expressed disapproval of the military takeover, while Russia advocated for Nigeriens to decide independently, presenting itself as a military power devoid of a colonial past.

The growing alignment with Russia has prompted concern from the US.

In March, the Nigerien junta revoked an agreement with the US government permitting American troops to operate on two of its bases.

Approximately 1,000 US military personnel had been stationed in the country as of 2023, and the US government had invested over $100 million in constructing a drone base.

Meanwhile, Germany currently operates an airbase in Niamey.

Neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso are also seeking Russian assistance to combat the jihadist insurgency spreading across the Sahel region.

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