Recent reports of an alleged French request to fly over Algerian airspace in preparation for an impending military operation in Niger have been emphatically denied by Paris.
Tensions have escalated in West Africa following reports from Algerian Radio of a request from France to fly over Algerian airspace in preparation for a military intervention in Niger. However, Paris has strongly denied these allegations, saying that no request for “clearance” has been filed recently. A senior French army officer quoted by Le Figaro, said France had no intention of attacking Niger.
The climate of mistrust between the two countries is exacerbated by precedents, such as Algeria’s refusal in 2021 to allow French military aircraft operating in northern Mali to fly over its airspace. This situation also occurs in the context of controversial statements by President Emmanuel Macron, which had sparked a diplomatic crisis between Algiers and Paris.
Niger’s new strongman, General Abdourahamane Tiani, has warned the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against any military intervention in his country. He expressed his distrust of a possible attempt at aggression, but stressed that if such an action were to take place, it would not be as simple as some might think.
Algeria, which shares a border of more than 950 km with Niger, reiterated its total rejection of a military intervention in the neighboring country. Instead, Algeria supports the restoration of constitutional order by peaceful means, in response to the military seizure of power in Niger last July.