The Nigerien President, Mohamed BAZOUM, has admitted to holding discussions with armed groups. While the President shared this information during the conference of executives on security in Niger las week, on Monday, he announced that he had sent emissaries for talks with 9 jihadist leaders affiliated with the JNIM – Jama'at nusrat al islam wal muslimin or Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) – in order to bring peace in the Tillaberi region.
President, BAZOUM adds that some terrorists were released as part of ongoing negotiations. For analysts, by publicly admitting that Niger entered into negotiations with the terrorists, President Bazoum has reversed his country’s position to never negotiate with criminals and has adopted the Malian strategy of dialoguing with armed groups.
The strategy however largely contrasts with that of France. Recall that French President Emmanuel Macron in an interview with the weekly Jeune Afrique, said “With terrorists, we do not discuss. We fight.”
While France has not responded to this revelation, Paris plans to increase its military cooperation with Niger in the fight against Islamist insurgents in the Sahel after pulling out of Mali.