The U.S. had relied on the French army to help fight growing extremism in West Africa and the Sahel.
The Sahel region had more deaths from terrorism last year than South Asia and the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) combined.
World Mission’s Greg Kelley says, “I think France’s withdrawal is disappointing. But it doesn’t have a huge impact as far as the Gospel is concerned.”
French troops were in place at Niger’s invitation, helping to control extremism. A military coup in late July followed rising anti-French sentiment.
“If you were to ask the people inside of Niger, they would say the corruption has taken over the country. Even though it’s a democracy, it’s almost like a dictatorship,” Kelley says.
“The degree of corruption and how they rule is so alarming that the people would rather have the military in control.”
As power changes hands at the government level, church planters keep their eyes on Jesus and remember their mission.
“Less than one percent of those living in Niger have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That needs to be the focus,” Kelley says.
Header image is an orthographic map showing Niger’s location in West Africa. (Wikimedia Commons)