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Niger: American soldiers leave the region

Niger: American soldiers leave the region

More than 269 out of 946 American soldiers have already left Niger, following the agreement signed in May between Washington and the military regime in Niamey, which wants this departure, as the two parties announced Friday in a joint press statement published in Niamey.

The press release signed by Niger’s Chief of Staff stated, “Since the signing of the US troop withdrawal agreement on May 19, 2024, more than 269 out of 946 personnel and several tons of equipment have already left Niger.” Army, Colonel Mamane Sani Kyaw, and Major General Kenneth Eckman, US Department of Defense.

It was published on the occasion of a ceremony held at Military Base 101 in Niamey, organized for the departure of other American soldiers, the number of which was not specified, and which marked, as the text specifies, “the official beginning of the withdrawal of American military personnel and equipment.”

This new departure on board a C130 aircraft “marks the beginning of a series of multiple rotations of large aircraft to repatriate personnel and equipment in accordance with the May 19 agreement.”

The US Forces Disengagement Agreement stipulated that troops had already left Niger and that the last US soldier should leave “no later than September 15, 2024.”

It was concluded two months after the military cooperation agreement with the United States was denounced by the Niamey regime, which came to power through a coup in July 2023.

“In order to allow an orderly and safe withdrawal, a joint disengagement committee has been formed to facilitate coordination,” read the press release issued on Friday.

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He adds that “both parties are committed to sparing no effort to make this withdrawal a success,” especially for the “protection and security of American forces.”

They also pledge to “continue cooperation in areas of common interest” and “recall that this withdrawal of US forces will not have any impact on current relations” between Washington and Niamey.

After the coup that overthrew elected President Mohamed Bazoum, the military regime demanded the departure of soldiers from the former French colonial power who were participating in the fight against the jihadist groups striking Niger. The last French soldier left on 22 December.

Niamey then obtained the withdrawal of the Americans, who in particular had a drone base in Agadez (north) used in the fight against jihadists.

Meanwhile, Niamey moved closer to Russia, which sent trainers and military equipment in April and May.