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Niger president calls for probe into troubled France convoy

By AFP
17 December 2021   |   9:34 pm
Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum called on Friday for an investigation into a French military convoy heading to Mali that sparked violent protests and led to the loss of three lives according to Niamey.

(FILES) Niger’s newly elected president Mohamed Bazoum. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum called on Friday for an investigation into a French military convoy heading to Mali that sparked violent protests and led to the loss of three lives according to Niamey.

The convoy making its way to Mali ran into trouble in Niger last month after being delayed by protests in Burkina Faso, with the Nigerien government reporting three deaths and more than a dozen wounded.

“With regard to the French soldiers, I demand that the French authorities open an investigation with a view to punishing those who are guilty of reprehensible acts”, Bazoum said in a televised address marking Niger’s 63rd anniversary of independence from France.

The supply convoy, which arrived on African soil in Ivory Coast earlier in the month, had crossed into Burkina Faso before entering Niger on its way to its destination in Mali.

It was heading for a base at Gao, central Mali, a hub of France’s Barkhane operation which is shoring up allies in the Sahel against a jihadist insurgency that began in northern Mali nearly a decade ago.

But clashes broke out at Tera in western Niger.

French army spokesman Pascal Ianni said at the time that “no French soldier was wounded”.

But “two civilian drivers in the convoy were hurt by stones and some civilian trucks were damaged”.

Bazoum has previously expressed his “gratitude” to France and applauded its “sacrifices” in the Sahel.

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