Niger’s military leaders said Monday they were ending two European Union security and defense missions in the country, after agreeing earlier in the day to strengthen military cooperation with Russia.
Niger’s foreign ministry said it was terminating an agreement between Niger and the European Union regarding a civil society capacity development mission based in Niamey, called EUCAP Sahel Niger.
The mission, launched in 2012, aims to support Niger’s internal security forces, authorities and non-governmental actors.
Niger’s foreign ministry also announced in a press statement, the “withdrawal with the consent of the Niger State for the deployment of a European Union military partnership mission” in Niger.
The military partnership, known as EUMPM, was launched in February “at the request of the Niger authorities”, according to the Council of the European Union website.
The program is designed to “enhance the capabilities of the Niger Armed Forces to contain terrorist threats,” the site said.
The West African country is battling two jihadist insurgencies, the result of a long-running conflict in neighboring Nigeria and attacks in the west by militants crossing over from Mali and Burkina Faso.
The country has been ruled by military leaders since the overthrow of elected President Mohamed Bazoum in July, sparking international condemnation.
The military regime has distanced itself from Niger’s close European partners, especially France, and increasingly closer to its two neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso, which after recent coups, are also controlled by militaries that have chosen to partner with Russia. (ns/hour)