By Ebi Kesiena
France’s army is holding talks with its counterparts in Niger about easing movements of French military resources in the country following a July coup by hostile generals.
There has been speculations that France will be forced into a full military pullout from Niger after the July 26 putsch, which ousted French ally President Mohamed Bazoum.
A source close to France Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu told AFP on Tuesday asking not to be named.
“Talks on functional coordination exist locally between soldiers,’’ he said.
Following the military takeover in Niamey, french forces have been immobilised since anti-terrorist cooperation was suspended.
The source did not reveal the type, size or calendar of troop “movements” taking place.
Although, some 1,500 French troops have been deployed in Niger as part of the wider fight against jihadists in the Sahel region.
Niger’s military-appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine said on Monday that “contacts” were underway about a “very swift” departure for Paris’ troops.
The generals behind the coup renounced several cooperation agreements with France on August 3, including one with a month-long notice period that expired on Sunday.
However, Zeine noted that he hoped to maintain cooperation if possible with a country with which it has shared many things.
On the other hand France, the former colonial power in Niger, has repeatedly said it does not recognise the military authorities there after they deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.
While, the French forces are mostly based at an airfield near the capital, Niamey, which in recent days has been targeted by protesters calling on them to leave.