The US Department of Defence announced on Tuesday that it had suspended counter-terrorism training in Niger following a coup in the country.
Niger is a vital part of regional US counter-terrorism efforts. It is one of the few countries in the region that agreed to house US drone bases as well as hundreds of American special forces and logistics experts focused on the fight against Boko Haram and ISIS.
“As far as security co-operation, those efforts right now are suspended in light of the situation,” Pentagon spokesman Brig Gen Pat Ryder said.
“But certainly we've seen close contact with our Niger military counterparts in the country, as the situation continues to unfold.”
The US has about 1,100 troops stationed in Niger. There are no immediate plans to pull them from the country, Brig Gen Ryder said.
According to Reuters, from 2017 to 2022, the US committed $281 million in security assistance for counter-terrorism operations, law enforcement, justice institutions and other uses to Niger.
Members of the Nigerien military orchestrated a coup last Wednesday against democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, the seventh military takeover in less than three years in West and Central Africa.
The action has sent shock waves across Africa, pitting Niger's former western allies against the likes of Russia and other junta leaders in the region.
France, which ruled Niger until the 1960s, has begun evacuating its citizens from the country after its embassy in Niamey was attacked days after the coup.
Other European citizens residing in the country have been urged by their own governments to join the French evacuation.
Brig Gen Ryder said there was no “imminent threat against any US personnel or American citizens”, noting that he was not aware of any US evacuation operations “at this time”.
Over at the State Department, spokesman Matthew Miller also said the US had not initiated any evacuation plans.
“Our embassy is open today operating on a normal schedule,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on Tuesday.
“We're monitoring the efforts by France and other Europeans to evacuate their citizens. We urge Nigerien authorities to facilitate an orderly, safe evacuation. At this time, we do not have indications of threats to US citizens or facilities but we are continually re-evaluating our posture to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
Mr Miller's remarks echoed an earlier statement from National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who said: “We don't have any indications of direct threats to US citizens or to our facilities, so we have not changed our posture with respect to our presence in Niger at this time.”