US to pull 1,000 troops from Niger in new agreement, reports say

Junta leadership deemed US presence 'illegal' in March

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. special forces soldier demonstrates how to detain a suspect during Flintlock 2014, a U.S.-led international training mission for African militaries, in Diffa, Niger March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Penney/File photo
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The US will withdraw 1,000 military personnel from Niger, media outlets reported on Friday, marking a major gap in American military posture in West Africa.

Reuters and The Washington Post reported that US State Department deputy secretary Kurt Campbell had met Niger's Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine and agreed to remove American troops from the country.

The New York Times said the withdrawal of US military personnel from Niger would take place over the next couple of months.

The National has reached out to the State Department for confirmation.

Over the past decade, the US has performed counter-terrorism and global security operations against ISIS and Al Qaeda in the West African region through two bases in Niger. As of last year, these were staffed by a little more than 1,000 US troops.

At one of the bases, near Agadez, the US built a $110 million drone base but activities there have been halted or limited since members of the Nigerien military overthrew the country's democratically elected government last July, ousting President Mohamed Bazoum.

Nigerien and Russian news organisations reported that Russian military personnel arrived in the country's capital Niamey this month.

In March, the junta deemed the American presence in Niger to be illegal.

Thousands of protesters recently demonstrated in Niamey to demand the withdrawal of American military personnel from the country.

American officials were as recently as this week engaged in efforts to continue the US military presence in the country, the AP and other news organisations reported.

France withdrew its troops from Niger in October after the junta demanded they leave.

Updated: April 20, 2024, 12:02 PM