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My India First

US Army Resumes Drone, Manned Counterterrorism Missions in Niger

The U.S. navy has resumed counterterrorism missions in Niger, flying drones and different plane out of air bases within the nation greater than a month after a coup halted these actions, the top of U.S. Air Forces for Europe and Africa mentioned Wednesday.

Because the July coup, the 1,100 U.S. forces deployed within the nation have been confined inside their bases. Final week the Pentagon mentioned some navy personnel and belongings had been moved from the air base close to Niamey, the capital, to a different in Agadez. The cities are about 920 kilometers aside.

In latest weeks a few of these intelligence and surveillance missions have been capable of resume via U.S. negotiations with the junta, mentioned Common James Hecker, the highest Air Power commander for Europe and Africa.

“For some time we weren’t doing any missions on the bases. They beautiful a lot closed down the airfields,” Hecker mentioned. “By means of the diplomatic course of, we are actually doing – I would not say 100% of the missions that we have been doing earlier than, however we’re doing a considerable amount of missions that we’re doing earlier than.”

Hecker, who spoke to reporters on the annual Air and House Forces Affiliation conference at Nationwide Harbor, Maryland, mentioned the U.S. was flying manned and unmanned missions and that these flights resumed “inside the final couple of weeks.”

The numerous distance between the 2 bases additionally signifies that whereas the flights are going out, some missions are “not getting as a lot knowledge, since you’re not overhead for as lengthy” due to the quantity of gasoline it takes to get out and again, he mentioned.

The U.S. has made Niger its most important regional outpost for wide-ranging patrols by armed drones and different counterterror operations towards Islamic extremist actions that over time have seized territory, massacred civilians and battled international armies. The bases are a important a part of America’s general counterterrorism efforts in West Africa.

The U.S. has additionally invested years and a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars} in coaching Nigerien forces.

In 2018, fighters loyal to the Islamic State group ambushed and killed 4 American service members, 4 Nigeriens and an interpreter.

West Africa recorded greater than 1,800 extremist assaults within the first six months of this 12 months, which killed practically 4,600 folks, based on ECOWAS, the Financial Group of West African States.

The Islamic extremist group Boko Haram operates in neighboring Nigeria and Chad. Alongside Niger’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, the Islamic State within the Larger Sahara and al-Qaida affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin pose better threats.

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