Russian weapons and trainers arrive weeks after the US military agreement ends

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Russia has delivered military equipment to Niger that will provide the African country with the “latest generation of anti-aircraft defense systems,” Nigerien state broadcaster RTN said Thursday.
The equipment arrived in Niamey on Wednesday along with 100 Russian military instructors who will install the system and train Nigerien soldiers to use it, RTN added.
‘Outpace the US’ Political analyst Mamadou Thior said former French colonies in the Sahel were reconsidering their military strategies.
“What we are witnessing with Mali, Burkina Faso, and now Niger is a renewal in their military strategy because they no longer want to have Western militaries on their territories,” he told CNN.
Earlier this year, a group of Russian soldiers arrived in Burkina Faso months after the junta-led nation expelled French troops from its soil.
Supporters of Niger’s junta have mobilized for protests on Saturday to rail against the presence of US military personnel still stationed in the country.
There are approximately 648 US military personnel still deployed in Niger, according to the White House.
“Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso are already in the pocket of the Russians,” Adje said.

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Nigerien state broadcaster RTN reported on Thursday that Russia had shipped military hardware to Niger, giving the African nation access to the “latest generation of anti-aircraft defense systems.”.

According to RTN, 100 Russian military instructors arrived in Niamey on Wednesday with the equipment, and they will install the system and train Nigerien soldiers on how to use it.

Russian military instructors arrived in Niger “to train local forces in the fight against terrorism,” according to early Friday reports from Russia’s official media, RIA Novosti. “.

The NATO troops have also been arriving in Niamey to further catch a transfer flight to Agadez, where “right now about 1,100 American soldiers are located,” an RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the scene. “This means that Russia is returning to Africa.”. “.

After speaking over the phone on March 26 about “ensuring security and combating terrorism,” Russian President Vladimir Putin and Nigerien General Abdourahamane Tiani recently arrived with Russian instructors. “.

The junta in Niger has been aligning itself more with Russia militarily and away from the US and France since taking over the country in a coup last year.

The junta announced last month that it was terminating a deal with the United States that permitted military personnel and civilian employees of the US Department of Defense to conduct operations in Niger.

Towards the end of 2023, France, the former colonial overlord of Niger, withdrew its troops.

Russia has become more influential in the troubled Sahel region of Africa, which has been fighting Islamist insurgents and a series of coups for years. This has led to concerns in the West about Russia’s military support of Niger’s neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso, which are also under junta control.

“Outperform the United States.”.

Mamadou Thior, a political analyst, stated that former French colonies in the Sahel were reevaluating their military tactics.

“With Mali, Burkina Faso, and now Niger, we are seeing a renewal in their military strategy because they are tired of having Western militaries on their soil,” he said in an interview with CNN.

Russia aims to demonstrate its ability to surpass the United States in Africa. When they see nations experiencing hardship, the Russians intervene to offer assistance. Once it’s over, they have a stronghold there and attempt to establish a base in order to drive out the previous forces, be they US, European, or even UN-affiliated forces. “.

The military junta of Mali has invited hundreds of Wagner contractors, a private Russian military unit, to help in the country’s battle against rebels.

Months after the junta-led country drove French troops from its territory, a group of Russian soldiers arrived in Burkina Faso earlier this year.

Before at least 2018, Wagner mercenaries had been fighting rebels in the country’s civil war and supplying the local army in the Central African Republic, another former French colony.

Mamadou Adje, a security consultant, told CNN that the junta leaders of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso will benefit more from Russia’s support because they won’t be under Russian pressure to guarantee a speedy transition back to democracy.

Adje, a retired Senegalese colonel who previously served in Mali and Burkina Faso under the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, stated, “They decided to be with the Russians and not the Americans because they will have the support and protection of the Russians who will not question the democratic setting of their military governments.”.

Proponents of the junta in Niger have organized demonstrations for this Saturday to express their disapproval of the US military’s continued presence in the nation. The White House reports that there are still about 648 US military personnel stationed in Niger.

“The Russians have already taken control of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso,” Adje remarked.

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