How the coup in Niger could expand the reach of Islamic extremism, and Wagner, in West Africa


More than 1,000 U.S. service personnel are in Niger, which until Wednesday's coup by mutinous soldiers had avoided the military takeovers that destabilized West African neighbors in recent years.

The country had been seen as the last major partner standing against extremism in a Francophone region where anti-French sentiment had opened the way for the Russian private military group Wagner.

Various Islamic extremist groups are active around Niger, which isn't to be confused with Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. Niger lies just to the north, part of the sprawling region directly below...

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