NIAMEY (Agencies): In a significant development, a team of Russian military instructors has been deployed to Niger, as reported by media outlets in the West African nation. The team, transported by a Russian military cargo plane, is set to assist the Nigerien army with counterterrorism training.

The instructors arrived in Niger on Wednesday night, with the public broadcaster Radio Television du Niger (RTN) airing footage of a military plane unloading cargo. A man in camouflage, presumably one of the instructors, stated their mission: “We are here to train the Nigerien army… to develop military cooperation between Russia and Niger.”

Another Russian specialist, speaking to Sputnik, emphasized their experience in combating terrorism and their intent to share this expertise with their Nigerien counterparts. The team also brought educational and material resources for the training of various specialists.

While the Russian Defense Ministry has not yet confirmed the full scope of the mission, RTN suggested in a Facebook post that the instructors would also install an air-defense system in Niger.

This development follows a recent discussion between Niger’s transitional leader, Abdourahamane Tchiani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin on coordinating efforts to combat terrorism in the Sahel region. This conversation occurred after a terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall, just outside the Russian capital.

Since the ouster of pro-Western President Mohamed Bazoum last year, the new leadership in Niamey has taken steps to sever ties with former partners, citing their failure to address jihadist violence in the Sahel. France completed the withdrawal of its troops from Niger in December, following accusations of internal meddling from Niamey.

Despite these changes, Washington has decided against disengagement from Niger for the time being, even after Niamey revoked an agreement that had permitted around 1,000 American troops and civilian contractors to operate in the country.

By Media

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