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Niger Military Accuses France of Preparing Forces for 'Intervention'

Niger's military regime, which took power in July, accused France of deploying forces in several West African countries with a view to "military intervention."

"France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger, which it is planning in collaboration with this community organization," regime spokesman Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane said in a statement broadcast on national television on Saturday.

Relations with France, Niger's former colonial power, degraded swiftly after Paris stood by ousted President Mohamed Bazoum following the July coup.

The Sahel state is also embroiled in a standoff with the West African bloc ECOWAS, which has threatened to intervene militarily if diplomatic pressure to return Bazoum to office fails.

On August 3, Niger's coup leaders renounced several military cooperation agreements with France, which has about 1,500 soldiers stationed in the country as part of a wider fight against jihadis.

On Tuesday, a Paris defense ministry source told AFP the French army was in talks with the military regime over withdrawing elements of its presence in Niger.

On September 1, the regime said its chief of staff had "received the commander of French forces in the Sahel … to discuss a plan for the disengagement of French military capabilities."