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Faith Nyasuguta 

Niger’s ruling junta, led by spokesperson Colonel Amadou Abdramane, has announced the immediate revocation of a military agreement permitting the presence of US military and civilian personnel. 

The decision, disclosed over the weekend, came in response to a recent visit by US officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and General Michael Langley, head of the US Africa Command.

Abdramane criticized the lack of diplomatic protocol during the US delegation’s visit, highlighting the absence of prior notification regarding the delegation’s composition, arrival date, or agenda. 

Discussions centered on Niger’s ongoing military transition, bilateral military cooperation, and the nation’s selection of partners in counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates.

While US officials acknowledged engaging in “frank discussions” with Niger’s ruling military council, known as the CNSP, they assured ongoing communication with the CNSP and pledged updates as needed.

Since seizing power in July, Niger’s junta, mirroring actions taken by military rulers in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, expelled French and other European forces, opting for closer ties with Russia.

Abdramane lamented the perceived interference in Niger’s sovereignty, accusing the American delegation of attempting to dictate Niger’s partnerships in counterterrorism efforts. He condemned what he described as a “condescending attitude” and threats of retaliation from the head of the American delegation toward Niger’s government and people.

The decision affects approximately 1,100 US troops stationed in Niger, operating from two bases, including Air Base 201 near Agadez, constructed at a cost exceeding $100 million. The base, established in 2018, targeted Islamic State militants and Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, an al Qaeda affiliate, across the Sahel region.

US president Joe Biden /Reuters/

Abdramane deemed the presence of US troops in Niger illegal, alleging violations of constitutional and democratic norms since their unilateral imposition in 2012. 

Lack of transparency regarding the number of US personnel and equipment on Nigerien soil, coupled with the US military’s non-obligation to assist Niger against militants, further fueled the decision to revoke the agreement.

“In light of all the above,” Abdramane declared, “the government of Niger revokes with immediate effect the agreement concerning the status of United States military personnel and civilian employees of the American Department of Defense on the territory of the Republic of Niger.”


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Faith Nyasuguta

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