Niger Suspends Military Cooperation with US, States Spokesman

Niger has abruptly suspended its military agreement with the United States, dealing a significant blow to US security interests in the region.

The pact, allowing US military and civilian defense personnel to operate from Niger, has been halted “with immediate effect,” according to Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the ruling military spokesman. This decision follows a visit by senior US officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and US Africa Command head General Michael Langley, to discuss democratic transition earlier in the week. Abdramane criticized the US delegation for not adhering to diplomatic protocol, failing to inform Niger about their composition, arrival date, or agenda. He expressed Niger’s regret over the delegation’s attempt to impede the sovereign Nigerien people from selecting partners to combat terrorism effectively.

The suspension impacted US operations significantly, as around 650 personnel were stationed in Niger in December, with a major airbase in Agadez, approximately 920 km from the capital Niamey. This base conducts vital surveillance flights and other missions. Moreover, Air Base 201 near Agadez, costing over $100 million, has been pivotal in targeting ISIL (ISIS) fighters and an al-Qaeda affiliate, JNIM, in the Sahel region since 2018.

Reporting from Washington, DC, Al Jazeera correspondent Shihab Rattansi emphasized the magnitude of this development, noting Niger’s pivotal role in US operations across West and North Africa. He highlighted the importance of Air Base 201 for both anti-terrorism efforts and projecting power against geopolitical rivals like Russia and China. Although Washington previously labeled Niger’s military takeover as a coup, the US expressed willingness in December to restore aid and security ties provided Niger met certain conditions.

About Geraldine Boechat 2707 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia