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US Troops Complete Withdrawal From Niger Base In Niamey

US troops have finished withdrawing from their base in Niamey, Niger’s capital, and are set to fully vacate their base in Agadez in the north before a September 15 deadline imposed by Niger’s military rulers, both countries announced on Sunday.

Niger’s military leadership terminated a military cooperation agreement with the United States in March, following a coup in July 2023.

The US had about 650 soldiers in Niger, participating in anti-jihadist missions across several Sahel nations in West Africa, including operating a significant drone base near Agadez.

The defence ministry of Niger and the US Defence Department confirm that the withdrawal of American forces and equipment from Niamey’s Base 101 is now complete,” both nations stated.

The final flight carrying US troops was scheduled to depart Niamey late Sunday.

Initially, the US presence in Niger numbered around 950 troops, with 766 soldiers having already left since the military ordered their exit, as learned at a ceremony attended by Niger’s army chief of staff, Maman Sani Kiaou, and US General Kenneth Ekman.

American forces are now focusing on withdrawing from Airbase 201 in Agadez,” the statement added, ensuring that the withdrawal will be completed by the September 15 deadline.

Niger had earlier demanded the withdrawal of French troops, the former colonial power and traditional security ally, and has since strengthened ties with Russia, which has provided instructors and equipment.

On Saturday, Germany’s defence ministry also announced it would end operations at its airbase in Niger by August 31, following the breakdown of negotiations with military leaders.

A similar realignment has occurred in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, which are also governed by military leaders and facing violence from jihadist groups.

Naija News reports that the military rulers of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have formed a new regional bloc, the Confederation of Sahel States (AES), following their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The leaders signed a treaty on Saturday during their inaugural summit in Niamey, marking a step towards greater integration among the three nations.

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