France's recent setback in the African Sahel marks its third loss in the region. This has triggered demands from local populations for Paris to withdraw, raising questions about the decades-long economic and cultural ties between France and African countries.
The Wagner company's role in exacerbating this estrangement is also being scrutinised, as there are concerns that Russia's involvement in Ukraine might be expanding southwards, fuelling conflicts between the East and West in a world undergoing significant changes.
Niger, in particular, is grappling with its fifth military coup since gaining independence, which has captured global attention, even overshadowing the Russian African summit in St. Petersburg.
Cartoon: Putin seeks allies in Africa
The repercussions of this coup have reached the capitals of various UN Security Council member states. The reactions have varied significantly — reflecting the diverse nature of relationships and interests between the nations involved.
The focus has shifted from securing food and wheat supplies for the continent, as previously promised by Moscow to its African allies, to finding a respectable solution to the new crisis unfolding in the African Sahel region.
The presence of hundreds of European military personnel in the region adds complexity to the situation, and their fate now hangs in the balance as events unfold.
France, with its substantial military base in the area housing approximately 1,500 soldiers, is particularly affected. France has previously lost similar bases in Mali and Burkina Faso due to coups allegedly linked to the Wagner company's activities.