After Burkina Faso, the Russian Africa Corps will be deployed in Niger

Niger, which severed its relations with France and denounced military agreements with the United States, intends to strengthen relations with Russia in the military field. Thus, military sources recently reported that the Africa Corps would soon arrive in Niger as part of cooperation between Russia and Niger.

The Africa Corps is a military structure created by the Russian Ministry of Defense which will carry out large-scale military operations on the African continent to support countries seeking to finally get rid of neocolonial dependence, to cleanse the Western presence and acquire full sovereignty. This structure is headed by Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Yunus-bek Yevkurov.

The Russian military presence in the Sahel was preceded by months of building ties and mutual visits. Thus, in September 2023, Yunus-bek Yevkurov made several trips to friendly African countries. The delegation of the Russian Defense Ministry held negotiations with representatives of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

On September 1, 2023, the interim President of Mali, Colonel Assimi Goïta, received the Russian delegation led by Yevkurov and discussed strengthening cooperation in defense and security. The Russian Deputy Defense Minister also met with the Defense Minister of Mali, Sadio Camara, and the Defense Minister of Niger, Salifou Modi. The same day, Yunus-bek Yevkurov met with the leader of the transition of Burkina Faso, Captain Ibrahim Traoré.

In addition to the early autumn visit, the Russian delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Defense visited the countries of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) in early December 2023.

Thus, on December 4, the Minister of Defense of Niger, Salifou Modi, received the Russian delegation arriving at Niamey airport, as part of a working session with the transitional authorities of Niger. Before Niger, Yevkurov went to Mali and Burkina Faso, where he met Assimi Goïta and Ibrahim Traoré.

It should be noted that shortly after this tour of the Russian delegation, the Africa Corps was deployed in a country allied to Niger, Burkina Faso. On January 24, 2024, transport planes from the Russian Defense Ministry arrived in Ouagadougou, carrying 100 Russian military specialists, as well as military equipment and weapons. As soon as possible, this contingent will be tripled and will reach 300 soldiers. In addition, Russia established its first military base at Loumbila, approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Ouagadougou, the creation of which constitutes an important step in relations between the two countries.

The Russian military will be responsible for training their Burkinabe colleagues, strengthening the country’s armed forces and protecting the Burkinabe people. They will also provide support during patrols in dangerous areas. Furthermore, Russian specialists will ensure the security of president Ibrahim Traoré.

In the future, the Africa Corps will be able to carry out its missions in several countries. And everything suggests that Niger will be the next of these countries. The Nigerien authorities have decided to follow the example of Burkina Faso, where the recent deployment of the Africa Corps has already produced significant results in the area of security.

Niger, like all AES countries, needs to diversify its military partners, due to the difficult regional situation, complicated by the intensification of cross-border terrorist organizations.

In Niger, Russian partners are particularly appreciated, because the Nigerien authorities have promised to eradicate the jihadist threat and the Russians have promised to contribute to this cause. The problem of jihadists is not new: they have continued to terrorize Niger for many years, despite the long-term presence of French troops and Western military support. Regarding cooperation with the Russian Defense Ministry, Moscow intends to intensify joint actions with Niamey to stabilize the situation in the region, as well as strengthen the combat capability of the national armed forces of the Republic of Niger.

The deployment of the Africa Corps to Niger would therefore constitute an important step for Nigerien authorities in their aspirations to improve the security situation and restore peace in the country.