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Nigeriens gather in a street to protest against the U.S. military presence, in Niamey, Niger April 13, 2024.

REUTERS/Mahamadou Hamidou

Niger Pivots from the Eagle to the Bear

Hundreds demonstrated in Niger's capital, Niamey, on Saturday to demand the removal of US troops, much as they called for the exit of French forces last year. Niger’s military coup in July 2023 has brought changes to the central African nation, including a shift in military alliances. The nation is deepening its relationship with Moscow, as evidenced bythe arrival last week of Russian military trainers tasked with bolstering Niger’s air defenses.

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FILE PHOTO: Russian officers from the Wagner Group are seen around Central African president Faustin-Archange Touadera, as they are part of the presidential security system during the referendum campaign to change the constitution and remove term limits, in Bangui, Central African Republic July 16, 2023.

REUTERS/Leger Kokpakpa

Have gun, will travel? Russia wants you in Africa

Moscow has reportedly begun recruiting 20,000 soldiers to be deployed to at least five Russia-aligned African countries to replace Wagner Group mercenaries previously stationed there as Russia deepens its influence on the continent.

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