First French troops have left Niger – report

France has begun withdrawing its troops from Niger on the orders of the junta, the AFP news agency reports.

“The first troops have left,” the spokesperson for the French chief of staff is quoted as saying.

Earlier, Niger’s army said the departure would begin on Tuesday under escort from Nigerien forces.

Tensions between the two countries began in July after a coup in which the democratically-elected president and French ally Mohamed Bazoum was ousted.

About 1,500 French soldiers have been assisting in the fight against Islamist militants.

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