Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum has on Friday called on France to open an investigation into the standoff between the youth and the French military convoy which resulted in the death of three civilians with several others sustaining various degrees of injuries.
In a televised address marking the 63rd independence of the country, the President said, “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.”
After being held by Burkinabe youth for over a week, the French Military convoy which had over hundred vehicles was equally met with another protest in Niger, forcing them to spend the night.
In an earlier account, the Nigerien interior ministry indicated that, “in its (the troop’s) attempt to break free, it used force,” resulting in “the deaths of two people and 18 wounded.” The authorities added that, 11 among those wounded are facing life-threatening injuries.
Later on, the government confirmed that, another person died from the injuries sustained, making the death toll a total of three people.
Similar to the Nigerian situation, about four protestors were equally killed in the city of Kaya – Burkina Faso with others wounded in attempts to break forcefully.
Speaking on the issue, Pascal Ianni, French army spokesman told reporters that, “the convoy halted last night at Tera. This morning, when they wanted to continue the road to Niamey, they were stopped by 1,000 demonstrators and a violent group among them tried to take over the trucks.”
He added that, the troops “fired warning shots” when after “Tensions soared again” before the supply trucks which numbered more than hundred was able to proceed with the journey. He disclosed further that, “no French soldier was wounded.”
The popular perception among youth in the Sahel is that, the French army is helping the jihadists in the region instead of supporting in the fight against their activities in the region. The youth of Burkina Faso for instance said during their protest against the troops that, they suspect the French vehicles were carrying “suspect items.”
As a result, they demanded to search the vehicles, as was the case in Niger where the youth attempted to take-over the trucks. The French troops have denied claims that they supply armory to the jihadists; according to them, the vehicles are supply vehicles.