Niger: weapons seized in Niamey belonged to the European Eucap Sahel mission

Nigerien national television broadcast images of an arms seizure in the heart of Niamey on Thursday.

The search was carried out on February 19 and 20 in a villa in the Francophonie Extension Tchangarey district and at the headquarters of the European mission EuCap Sahel.

For the Nigerien authorities, these weapons are proof that France was preparing clandestine actions against the junta.

After verifications, it appears that these weapons in fact belong to elements of the European Eucap Sahel mission present in Niger since 2012 in order to participate in strengthening the capacities of Niger's internal security forces.

A new episode in the information war waged by the Nigerien junta against France.

[Illustrative image] General view of a street in Niamey on September 8, 2023. AFP - -

By: RFI Follow


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The technique is well established.

Use real images on which a narrative hostile to the French presence in Africa is superimposed.

This was true before the

departure of Operation Barkhane from Niger at the end of 2023

, and it is still true today.  

In September 2023, France was accused of preparing a plot against Niger after the discovery of a Burkinabé military outfit in a vehicle leaving the French embassy.

Verification carried out, it concerned the affairs of a French military aid worker who was previously stationed in Burkina.

The video made the front page of Nigerien television news.

In October, the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP) published a video on its official WhatsApp channel accusing France of training terrorists in the Sahel.

In fact, it was a video shot during a Malian army training session in the north of the country before the withdrawal from Barkhane.

Images taken out of context


No, this video does not show a French officer training terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda.

© Screenshots/RFI montage

The latest episode, therefore, is that Nigerien national television is broadcasting a report this Thursday, where once again France is accused of preparing military actions against the junta after a search carried out in the center of Niamey.

The images were broadcast by RTN, national television and reproduced on the CNSP tweeter account.

On screen, the Nigerien police and gendarmerie discover stored weapons: assault rifles, pistols, boxes of ammunition, grenades.

Comment: “ 

here is the arsenal that the French soldiers left behind them


France is thus accused of following a “ 

destabilization strategy

 ” against the junta…

However, in the images, several details will attract our attention; AR18 assault rifles are not used by the French army.

Likewise, some bulletproof vests are in the colors of the European Union;

the ammunition, Fiocchi brand, is Italian and packaged in boxes and not military crates.

After cross-checking, it appears that the Villa in question was used to house elements of Eucap Sahel, including French people.

 Contacted by RFI, an EU spokesperson specified: “ 

Monday evening, without prior warning or coordination, the Nigerien Internal Security Forces entered the buildings of the Eucap civilian mission in Niamey.

They carried out searches and requisitioned a certain quantity of protective equipment.

Notwithstanding the unjustified nature of this search, the Eucap staff present on site were not put in danger.  

We are analyzing the situation in full collaboration with the Member States.  

This unfortunate event comes on top of other hostile and unjustifiable incidents against the EU and its Member States in recent months.

The EU deeply regrets these incidents which in no way reflect the relationship of trust that had been created between the Eucap mission and the Nigerien authorities over nearly a decade.  

The EU denounces the flagrant non-compliance by the military authorities of the privileges and immunities granted by the legal agreement concluded between Niger and the EU (SOMA – Status of Mission Agreement), but also of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.   

In this context, the EU can only encourage the de facto military authorities in Niger to respect the mission's withdrawal plan which was recently presented to them, as well as the country's international commitments.

In December, the junta gave the European mission Eucap until the beginning of June to withdraw.

According to our information, at the start of the week, around thirty European elements were still on site.

Elements to which logisticians must be added.

Some of the weapons were destroyed, the other was stored before departure.

These weapons were intended for the protection of the mission, and for escorts when Eucap Sahel elements moved around the country.  

 As of Tuesday, a French security source pointed out " 

the risk of a possible disinformation campaign based on images of seized materials 


Read alsoNiger: France will close its embassy for an indefinite period

The Governor of the Niamey region hosted a press briefing in the afternoon of this Friday, February 23, 2024, relating to the discovery of war material in the villa occupied by French military instructors in Niamey.

In this speech, the General of…

— National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland (@NIGER_CNSP) February 23, 2024


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