French Massacre of Unarmed ‘Down with France’ Protesters in Niger Raises Questions Regarding Presence in West Africa

Questions have been raised regarding the nature of France’s military activities in the country's former colonies in West Africa after French military personnel were responsible for opening fire on unarmed protesters in Niger on November 27th. France's military presence in the country has been highly controversial domestically, and when French armoured vehicles were blocked by protesters chanting ‘Down with France,’ French personnel caused 20 casualties among them including two deaths and 11 serious injuries using their firearms. France has long been accused of exploiting its former colonies and maintaining a neocolonial relationship which has enriched Paris at the expense of local economies, with French military assets across the region key to enforcing this relationship. The killing of protesters is the latest of multiple serious controversies involving French forces in the region, with mass rapes of African women and children by French personnel having occurred frequently across several decades. Niger has the world’s fourth largest uranium reserves and significant other resource wealth, and has also seen a growing U.S. presence on its territory in recent years.

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