European troops to redeployed to Niger

Niamey: European forces, whose withdrawal from Mali was announced earlier yesterday, will be redeployed to regions of Niger along the border with Mali, Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum said. On Thursday, France and its allies in the European mission Takuba, along with a small number of Canadian servicemen, began a joint troop pullout from Mali due to disagreements with the African nation’s transitional government, which came to power as a result of a military takeover. “The new bases will be located near [the Malian cities of] Menaka and Gao. They will particularly accept Takuba because it will give us great advantages. These are special forces capable of responding to the threat from terrorist organizations. Takuba is also a force integrated into the army of Mali and soon into the army of Niger,” Bazoum said in an interview with the Le Figaro newspaper issued late on Thursday. He expects a “vacuum” to be formed with the departure of European forces which will allow for increased activities of terrorist groups present in the region, posing threat to northern Mali and subsequently neighboring Niger, the president added. African and European countries see the need to reorganize their presence in Mali, he stressed, adding that linked arrangements will be clarified from June. In particular, European troops will be present in Niger and are also expected to be deployed to other countries in need, for example, Benin, he specified. UNI/SPUTNIK MYK

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