BREAKING: U.S. Forces Take ‘Protection Measures’ As African Troops Deploy for Niger

he Pentagon command overseeing U.S. military operations in Africa has told Newsweek that it has been instituting measures to safeguard personnel stationed in Niger after a coalition of West African nations announced troops had been activated in an effort to restore the constitutional order in the country….CONTINUE READING

“AFRICOM is monitoring the situation in Niger, and U.S. forces continue to take prudent force protection measures,” a spokesperson for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) told Newsweek.

The remarks came after the Economic Coalition of West African States (ECOWAS) announced during an emergency summit Thursday the activation of a multinational standby force in response to Nigerien Major General Abdourahamane “Omar” Tchiani’s refusal to cede power back to Nigerien President Mohamad Bazoum, who was ousted in a military-led upheaval late last month.

While Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who serves as ECOWAS chair, said he still hoped that a “peaceful resolution” was possible, he asserted that “no option is taken off the table, including the use of force as a last resort.”

PAY ATTENTION:  How NEC Decides On Palliative Measures For Nigerians
US, Air, Force, patrol, in, Niger
Two U.S. Air Force staff sergeants attached to the 409th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Quick Reaction Force, maintain security while conducting a joint patrol with the Niger Armed Forces (FAN) near AB 201, Niger, on January 6, months before Nigerien Major General Abdourahamane “Omar” Tchiani led a military takeover to depose President Mohamed Bazoum. The U.S. maintains around 1,100 troops in the landlocked West African nation. Master Sergeant Michael Matkin/406th Expeditionary Wing/U.S. Air Force

Newsweek has reached out to ECOWAS, the Nigerian Embassy to the United States, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department for comment.

Niger has been a major security partner for the U.S. in its efforts countering militant groups, including those tied to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) across the Sahel, and up to 1,100 U.S. troops are stationed in the country. Air Base 201, located in the central city of Agadez, has played a key role in drone operations across the region.

PAY ATTENTION:  BREAKING: Reactions As Pastor Adeboye Was Pictured With Dangote & Sanwo-Olu At The Wigwe's Parents House

U.S. ground operations in Niger made international headlines in 2017 when four U.S. Special Operations and four Nigerien Armed Forces personnel were killed in an ISIS ambush near the remote village of Tongo Tongo.

Earlier on Thursday, Pentagon spokesperson U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters that “there has been no change to the U.S. military force posture” in Niger and that “the U.S. government focus remains on a diplomatic solution.”

Asked if the U.S. military would continue counterterrorism cooperation in Niger with Tchiani’s newly established National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, Ryder said he did “not want to speculate or get into hypotheticals.”

PAY ATTENTION:  BREAKING: ‘Why NADECO won’t recognise Tinubu’s presidency’

Concerns over a potential ECOWAS intervention in Niger have been compounded over warnings by neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali that they would treat such action as a declaration of war. Both countries have also undergone military-led munities in recent years, leading to their suspension from the 15-nation ECOWAS bloc.

Guinea, which is also suspended from ECOWAS due to a 2021 military takeover, and Algeria, which borders Niger to the north, have also expressed opposition to any armed intervention.

Other world powers have also weighed in.

Russia, which has accelerated its diplomacy across the continent in recent years, warned that such an intervention “is unlikely to contribute to peace in the region,” as Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexey Zaitsev said Wednesday. China, which for decades has forged ties throughout Africa, expressed its hope for Nigeriens to “settle differences peacefully through dialogue,” in the words of a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson last week.

Earlier this week, the French Foreign Ministry said that France, which has withdrawn troops from a number of African nations such as Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic and Mali in recent years, would support an ECOWAS intervention if carried out…..CONTINUE READING