A large crowd greeted the soldiers as the convoy passed through Gaya on September 13, the closest Niger town to Benin on the southern border. Cheers and slogans hostile to France and the ECOWAS regional bloc rang out.
Since the group of 15 nations agreed to activate a "standby force" to intervene in Niger and restore democracy by force, Niamey has strengthened its position on the border.
El Hadj resident Moussa Ibra is calm.
“In Gaya, we are very calm and relaxed,” he said this weekend. “We have seen such deployments in the past, I refer to the period 1963-1964, at a time when there was tension between us and Benin over the summer archipelago issue. So a kind of déjà vu, same country, and another thing to do in Gaya."
The convoy was deployed on Wednesday September 13, a day after Niger denounced its military cooperation agreement with Benin.
The ruling government is at odds with neighboring countries in the Economic Community of West African States.
“The deployment of the Nigerian army in the Gaya area has reassured the people, including me,” said civil society actor Hamada Oussani. "Recently, people were worried when they heard the news and read information on social networks that the number of soldiers and military equipment would not be enough. We were surprised to see the army moving towards Gaya to deploy and stay on the border that we are in. on one side shared with Benin and on the other side with Nigeria, the people can rest assured because the State has taken all necessary measures to be able to respond in the aftermath.
Niger's military leaders who dismissed President Bazoum accused Benin of allowing "the stationing of soldiers and war materials for the purpose of invasion", according to them, France's wishes coordinate with some ECOWAS countries.