US set to complete withdrawal from Niger’s Air Base 101

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

The US military is set to complete the withdrawal on Sunday of its personnel from Niger’s Air Base 101 in the nation’s capital and then shift its focus to exiting a major drone base in the coming weeks, a US general said on Friday.

Niger’s ruling junta in April ordered the US to withdraw its nearly 1,000 military personnel from the country, in an embarrassing setback for Washington that followed a coup last year.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Before the coup, Niger had been a key partner in the US fight against insurgents in the Sahel region of Africa, who have killed thousands of people and displaced millions more. Washington is searching for a Plan B in West Africa but officials caution that US intelligence on fast-growing extremist groups in the region is dimming.

Air Force Major General Kenneth Ekman, who is on the ground in Niger to coordinate the departure, said the US exit from Air Base 101 will be finalized with a ceremony. The base is located next to Diori Hamani International Airport in the capital Niamey.

“We will do a joint ceremony on that occasion that marks the departure of the last US C-17 (aircraft). The government of Niger will assume control of former US areas and facilities,” Ekman said, speaking by video conference.

As the US exits, Russia has deployed a number of military forces to the same base, where they are carrying out training activities.

US officials say there has been no contact between US and Russian personnel there and Ekman stressed he has received assurances from Niger the forces will be kept separate.

“When I last talked to a Nigerian interlocutor, he quantified the presence of Russian forces as under 100. And he also talked about when the Russians are done training them, they have told the Russians that they have to go home,” Ekman said.

Read more:

US military looks for West Africa ‘Plan B’ after Niger ousting

US, Niger agree roadmap for complete withdrawal of American troops

US delegation held talks in Niger to discuss withdrawal of American troops

Top Content Trending