US removing its troops from bases in Niger

By Anadolu Agency

The US is removing all its forces and equipment from Niger ahead of a Sept. 15 deadline set under an agreement with the ruling junta.

US forces will be removed from a small base this weekend, while around 500 remaining troops will leave a critical drone base in the West African country in August.

The drone base, known as Nigerien Air Base 201, is located near the city of Agadez and was built at a cost of $110 million.

The US had around 1,100 troops in Niger.

The ruling junta ordered US forces out of the country in the wake of the overthrow last July of the country’s elected president.

A Niger government official spoke with Anadolu on condition of anonymity, saying the presence of the US in the country is a major threat to the junta.

US Air Force Maj. Gen. Kenneth Ekman said in a recent interview with the Associated Press that a number of small teams of 10-20 US troops, including special operation forces, have moved to other countries in West Africa, but the bulk of the forces will initially go to Europe.

The German army will also end its operations at its airbase in Niger by Aug. 31.

The decision was taken following the breakdown of talks with the Sahel country’s junta, according to the German Defense Ministry.