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Faith Nyasuguta 

The US and Niger have agreed that American troops will leave the country by 15 September, according to a joint statement released on Sunday. The announcement stated that the two nations had “reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun.”

Niger has served as the primary base for the US to monitor regional jihadist activity. The military junta, which seized power last year, had previously ordered French troops to leave and has since moved closer to Russia.

The statement praised the “joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism” and emphasized that the withdrawal would not impact the continuation of US-Niger relations. It also highlighted the commitment of both countries to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations.

/The Street Journal/

The agreement was reached after extended talks between the two countries in Niamey. In March, Niger announced the end of its military agreement with the US, with military spokesperson Col Amadou Abdramane accusing the US of objecting to Niger’s chosen allies. Col Abdramane criticized the US for its “condescending attitude” and “threat of reprisals.”

Tensions between the US and Niger escalated after the elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, was overthrown last year. Niger is located in Africa’s Sahel region, which is considered the new global epicenter of the Islamic State group. American forces have used two military bases in Niger to monitor Islamist militant groups in the Sahel.

The US built a $100m (£80m) military base in Agadez, 750km (460 miles) northeast of Niamey, six years ago. This base has played a crucial role in the US strategy to combat jihadists in West Africa, with more than 1,000 troops stationed there.

The US is the second Western power to withdraw from Niger. Last year, Niger expelled French troops, who had also been deployed to fight jihadists. As Niger has distanced itself from the West, it has drawn closer to Russia.

French troops leave Niger 🇳🇪/Channels TV/

Last month, Russian military instructors arrived in Niger as part of a new agreement with its military leaders. Niger has also distanced itself from local democracies and sought stronger regional alliances with fellow junta-led nations Burkina Faso and Mali. 

The trio has quit Ecowas, the West African regional body that opposed their military takeovers, and the French-backed G5 Sahel force, which they deemed ineffectual and undermining African sovereignty. Instead, they launched their own defense pact called the Alliance of Sahel States.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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