Niger’s parliament will for the first time tackle the question of the presence of foreign forces fighting jihadists in the impoverished Sahel nation, the government said on Friday. The foreign troops, who work with the national military, are often perceived as “occupying forces” by local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the government noted. “It is important that the Nigerien people, through the parliament, speak clearly on the issue,” said Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou. “The debate will take place in a few days,” he added. At a press conference with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, the minister said Niger sought “an increase in the intervention of our partners”. “With the departure of French forces from northern Mali, we expect greater pressure from terrorists in our country,” he said. The parliament in Niamey is dominated by allies of President Mohamed Bazoum. Niger has the support of several Western countries in its battle against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked jihadists, including the United States and France, which have military bases in the capital and the Agadez region in the north.