Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Russian and American soldiers at the same airbase in Niger

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The American and Nigerien flags side by side at Air Base 201 in Agadez in central Niger. The picture was taken on 16 April 2018 when the US and Niger continued to cooperate closely in the fight against rebels in the Sahel region. Photo: Carley Petesch / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/03/2024 10:24:48

War and conflicts: An unnamed US defense source told the Reuters news agency on Friday.

The military base is known as Air Base 101 and is located in the capital Niamey, close to Diori Hamani International Airport.

According to the American source, the Russian forces are in a different hangar from the American ones, but the distance between them is not particularly great.

– The situation is not very good, but it is manageable, says the source.

according to CNN The situation has been going on for weeks.

After last year’s coup, Niger’s military junta has notified the United States that the American soldiers must leave the country. Before the coup, Niger and the United States worked closely together to put down a far-reaching Islamist insurgency that has spread to several countries in the region.

But the increased Russian presence has created a problematic relationship between the US and the junta. In March, two US defense officials traveled to Niger to discuss the situation. Among the questions was whether the junta would let the Russians take over Airbase 101, according to CNN, which writes that the meeting was tense.

Negotiations are now underway on how the American soldiers will be able to withdraw in a proper manner. At the same time, the Russian media reported a few weeks ago that Russia has sent equipment and 100 military training instructors to Niger.

They are distributed over two bases, Airbase 101 in the capital and Air Base 201 in the center of the country – a base which since 2018 has been used for attacks against IS and an al-Qaeda-affiliated group in the Sahel region.

The neighboring countries of Mali and Burkina Faso are also today ruled by military junta which have ended defense agreements with the USA and France and instead stepped up cooperation with Russia.

The United States has already begun pulling American troops out of a French military base in Chad, as the country requested last month, according to a Pentagon spokesman. More than half of the American soldiers who have been deployed at the base are said to have left the country.

Two weeks ago, the United States announced that it had agreed to demands from the military junta to withdraw the American soldiers.

The United States has had a military presence in Niger for almost ten years. Last year there were around a thousand American soldiers in the country.

(© NTB)

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