End of an Era: U.S. Troops Exit Niger’s Air Base 101

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The U.S. military withdrew its personnel from Niger’s Air Base 101 near the airport in the capital, Niamey. This move precedes the planned exit from a major drone base near the desert city of Agadez in the coming weeks, according to Reuters.

In April, Niger’s junta ordered the U.S. to withdraw its nearly 1,000 military personnel from the country following a coup last year in the West African nation.

“Thanks to effective cooperation and communication between the Nigerian and American armed forces, this operation was completed ahead of schedule and without any complications,” Niger’s defence ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense said in a joint statement.

As of last year, the over 1,000 U.S. troops stationed in Niger operated from two bases, including Air Base 201 near Agadez in central Niger, which served as a drone base.

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Since 2018, the base has been instrumental in targeting Islamic State militants and Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, an al Qaeda affiliate, in the Sahel region

According to the U.S. Air Force Major General Kenneth Ekman, the pullout from that base will likely take place in August. Niger’s junta has given the U.S. until September 15 to remove troops from its territory, Reuters reported.

The US said it had cautioned Niger on ties with Russia, and Iran before the military accord termination.

In April, Russia sent military trainers to Niger to train Nigerien soldiers and set up an air defence system in the country.

On Saturday, Niger and its military-led neighbours, Mali and Burkina Faso signed a confederation treaty, signalling an ever-closer alignment between the countries in the insurgency-torn central Sahel.

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They have also torn up defence agreements with U.S., European, and United Nations forces.

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