Mutinous Soldiers in Niger Sever French Military Ties While ‘Hostage’ President Pleads for U.S. Help

Niger’s military junta says it is severing military agreements with France, its former colonial ruler, firing some of the previous government’s key ambassadors and warning citizens of the West African nation to watch for foreign armies and spies. A regional delegation’s efforts at negotiation quickly deadlocked.

The junta’s announcement on state television late Thursday deepens the post-coup isolation for what had been the United States’ and allies’ last major security partner in the Sahel, the vast region south of the Sahara Desert that Islamic extremist groups have turned into the global center of terrorism.

With two days remaining before a deadline set by the West African regional bloc to release and reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum or face possible force, Bazoum in a plea published in a Washington Post opinion piece said, “I write this as a hostage” and urged the U.S. and partners to help.

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