Niger ends two security and defence missions with the EU

Niger’s military leaders have announced that they were ending two European Union security and defence missions in the country, after earlier in the day agreeing to strengthen military cooperation with Russia.

The Nigerien foreign ministry said that it was ending the agreements between Niger and the EU concerning the EUCAP Sahel Niger and an EU military partnership mission aimed at bolstering Niger’s armed forces against terrorism.

To be noted that the Niamey-based civilian capacity-building mission called EUCAP Sahel Niger mission, launched in 2012, supports Niger’s internal security forces, authorities and non-governmental actors.

Niger’s foreign ministry also announced in a press statement the “withdrawal by the State of Niger of consent for the deployment of an EU military partnership mission” in Niger.

The military partnership known as EUMPM was launched in February “at the request of the Nigerien authorities.

It was designed to “enhance the ability of the Niger Armed Forces to contain the terrorist threat.

Noteworthy, the West African nation is battling two jihadist insurgencies – a spillover in its southeast from a long-running conflict in neighbouring Nigeria, and an offensive in the west by militants crossing from Mali and Burkina Faso.

The country has been ruled by military leaders since the overthrow of elected President Mohamed Bazoum in July, which prompted international condemnation.

Meanwhile a Russian delegation led by the deputy defence minister met with Niger’s authorities in Niamey on Monday, with the two countries agreeing to strengthen military cooperation.

The trip was the first official visit by a member of the Russian government since the coup in Niger on July 26.

The delegation led by Colonel-General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was hosted for talks by the head of Niger’s military government General Abdourahamane Tiani.

The parties “signed documents to strengthen military cooperation between the Republic of Niger and the Russian Federation,” according to Nigerien authorities.