French forces out of Mali, into Niger


Lawmakers in Niger have approved a bill that clears the way for more foreign troops to be deployed in the country, which is fighting several jihadist insurgencies. The move comes as French and European forces withdraw from neighboring Mali, having fallen out with the ruling junta there. Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum had already announced plans in February to absorb some of the departing soldiers. But passing the bill through parliament formalizes the decision, amid rising anti-French sentiment in the country and the wider region.

Alongside the military approach, Bazoum has also been trying to initiate dialogue with jihadist leaders, even releasing militants from custody.

Burkina Faso’s junta leader, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, appears to be adopting a similar strategy—calling for dialogue and off-ramps for insurgents while maintaining military pressure at the same time.

From The New Humanitarian, April 29

Map: PCL