Niger protesters call for immediate exit of US troops

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Hundreds of people have held a demonstration in Agadez in the north of Niger, calling for the immediate departure of the 1,000 American troops based there. 

The protest on Sunday was called by organisations that support the military authorities who seized power last year. 

It came two days after the US agreed to withdraw its forces from the Sahel nation in response to last month’s decision by the military-led government in Niamey to revoke an agreement that allowed American forces to operate in the country.

The US also agreed to close down a drone base from where it carries out operations against Islamist militant groups. 

“Our message is clear: American soldiers, pack your bags and go home,” one of the protesters told AFP news agency. 

Protesters were seen carrying the flags of Russia, as well as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Military leaders in these countries have been strengthening ties with Moscow.

Niger is in Africa’s Sahel region, which is considered the new global epicentre of the Islamic State group.

The US has relied on Niger as its primary base for monitoring regional jihadist activity.

Dozens of Russian military instructors have arrived in Niger in recent weeks, bringing with them a state-of-the-art air defence system, according to state media reports.

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