US to withdraw military from Niger after security pact revoked

US officials have confirmed that over 1,000 military personnel will be withdrawn from Niger a month after its military junta revoked a security pact between the two countries.

The announcement came on Friday after an unsuccessful meeting between US deputy secretary of state Kurt Campbell and Niger Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine.

The 12-year-old pact, which allowed US forces to monitor and fight jihadist terrorism on Niger's land, was compromised when a junta spokesman declared their presence "illegal" in a public statement on March 15, per The Guardian.

The outlet reports that the move will "force the Biden administration to rethink its counter-terrorism strategy" and is a "strategic victory for Russia."

"We can confirm the beginning of discussions between the US and Niger for the orderly withdrawal of US forces from the country," a US defense official told Fox News.

As the withdrawal occurs, one of the US' main drone bases in Africa will close. Base 201 was predominantly used to combat terrorist groups in the Sahel region and was reportedly where the 2019 strikes against Islamic State fighters in Libya originated from.

Tensions have been high between Niger and the US since last July after then-president Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown and taken into custody. He has since been on house arrest despite the US demanding his release.

The leaders that took power of the country have sought stronger ties with Russia like Niger's neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso. Protesters gathered in the streets of Niger's capital last week to demand the withdrawal of American military troops as Russian military officials arrived in the country.

Niger's other neighboring country, Nigeria, has been a hotbed for Islamic attacks on Christians. According to the Catholic Herald, over 8,000 Nigerian Christians were murdered in 2023 by jihadists who are protected by the government.

“The combined forces of the government-protected Islamic Jihadists and the country’s Security Forces (NSFc) are directly and vicariously accountable for hacking to death in 2023 of no fewer than 8,222 defenceless Christians – covering a period of 13 months or Jan (2023) – Jan (2024),” said a report released by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law.
 

“Nigeria has become the second deadliest Genocide-Country in the world accounting for more than 150,000 religiously motivated defenseless civilian deaths since 2009,” it stated.


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