The declaration that France will withdraw its troops by the end of the year was hailed as “a new step towards sovereignty” by Niger’s military leaders on Sunday.
The declaration was made shortly after French President Emmanuel Macron declared that Paris would soon remove its military presence and ambassador from Niger.
“This Sunday, we celebrate a new step towards the sovereignty of Niger,” said a statement from the country’s military rulers, who seized power in late July by overthrowing President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
“The French troops and the ambassador of France will leave Nigerien soil by the end of the year.”
The announcement, which was read aloud on public television, continued, “This is a historic moment, which speaks to the determination and will of the Nigerien people.”
Prior to Macron’s announcement on Sunday, ASECNA, the organization in charge of regulating aviation safety in Africa, declared that the military authorities in Niger had forbade “French aircraft” from entering the nation’s airspace.