Monday, July 15, 2024

US Troops to Depart Niger Bases This Weekend and in August Following Coup

U.S. forces to withdraw from Niger base as part of agreement with ruling junta

The U.S. Military Forces are set to leave Niger this weekend, marking the end of an era in the West African country. With fewer than 500 troops remaining, American forces will complete their withdrawal from a critical drone base in August, in accordance with an agreement made with the ruling junta.

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Ekman, the U.S. military commander in Niger, explained that while some troops have been relocated to other West African countries, the majority will be moving to Europe initially. The departure from Niger comes as a result of the country’s ouster of American troops following a coup last year, leading to the closure of the crucial drone base used for counterterrorism missions in the Sahel region.

Despite the challenges posed by the withdrawal, Ekman remains optimistic about potential partnerships with other West African nations, such as the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The shift in operations leaves a security gap in the Sahel region, where extremist groups like JNIM continue to pose a threat.

As the U.S. military completes its withdrawal from Niger, Ekman emphasized the importance of leaving facilities in good condition to maintain future security relations. The departure comes in the wake of Niger’s political turmoil and the junta’s decision to seek security assistance from the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

In the face of evolving security threats in the Sahel, the departure of U.S. forces from Niger marks the end of an era and raises questions about the future of counterterrorism efforts in the region.

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