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Niger: March against Barkhane banned, opponents launch a petition

Niger: March against Barkhane banned, opponents launch a petition
French soldiers of the Barkhane force patrol the streets of Timbuktu, ...   -  
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THOMAS COEX/AFP or licensors


A march planned for Wednesday in Niamey against the presence of soldiers of the Barkhane force in Niger was banned and its organizers announced that they had decided to launch a petition demanding their departure instead.

The M62 movement, which brings together civil society organizations and describes itself as "peaceful" and committed to "the dignity and sovereignty of the Nigerien people," said in a statement that, "respectful" of the law, it "takes note of the ban" on its march.

He announced that he had decided "to launch an online petition against the presence of Barkhane in Niger", whose text demands that the regime of President Mohamed Bazoum "make it leave our country", as well as "any other evil force whose objective is to destabilize and/or plunder the resources of our country and the Sahel".

Pushed out of Mali, the French Barkhane force - whose last soldier left that country on Monday - will nevertheless remain present in the Sahel, particularly in Niger, one of France's main allies in the region.

In April, Niger's deputies had largely voted in favor of a text authorizing the deployment of foreign forces on the territory, notably French, to fight jihadists.

At the end of November 2021, a Barkhane military convoy leaving Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire to reach Gao in Mali was initially blocked and pelted by demonstrators in Kaya, Burkina Faso.

It resumed its journey before being interrupted again by angry demonstrators in Tera, in western Niger. Three of them were killed in shootings attributed by the Nigerien government to its forces or to French forces.

Investigations have not been able to determine with certainty who fired the shots, but Nigerien authorities believe they were probably French.

Both France and Niger announced that they would compensate the families of the victims.

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