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US Military Withdraws Troops from Niger Air Base

The US military has withdrawn its personnel from Niger’s Air Base 101 in Niamey ahead of a similar exit at its major drone base near Agadez, which will likely happen in August. The move comes after Niger’s ruling junta, which came to power in a coup last year, tagged US presence in the West African state illegal and demanded a total evacuation of every American soldier by September 15. A joint statement from Niger’s defense ministry and the US Department of Defense noted the smooth completion of the withdrawal. According to US Air Force Major General Kenneth Ekman, the US military will now work on evacuating the $100 million drone base near Agadez, which had been used for gathering information used in targeting Islamic State militants and al-Qaeda affiliates in the Sahel. Meanwhile, Niger has strengthened ties with Russia, which sent military trainers and set up an air defense system.

SOURCE: BUSINESS INSIDER