The military leaders in Niger have rejected the agreement that would have allowed the establishment of American military bases on their land.

The military leaders in Niger have rejected the agreement that would have allowed the establishment of American military bases on their land.

The military rulers of Niger have announced the immediate withdrawal of a military agreement that permits the presence of American military personnel and non-military personnel in the country.

In 2023, there were approximately 1,100 US soldiers stationed in Niger. The US military has two bases in the country, one of which is a drone base called airbase 201. This base, located near Agadez in central Niger, was constructed at a cost exceeding US $100 million. Since 2018, the base has been utilized to combat Islamic State terrorists and Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), a branch of al-Qaida, in the Sahel region.

The announcement from the junta comes after US officials, led by Molly Phee, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, visited this week. The delegation also included Gen Michael Langley, the commander of US Africa command. On Saturday, Col Amadou Abdramane stated on Niger television that the US delegation did not adhere to diplomatic protocol and that Niger was not informed about the delegation’s makeup, arrival date, or agenda.

He mentioned that they were talking about the ongoing military transition in Niger, the military collaboration between the two nations, and Niger’s selection of allies in combating militants associated with al-Qaida and Islamic State.

After taking control in July 2023, the Nigerian military, along with those in Mali and Burkina Faso, have expelled French and other European forces and have sought assistance from Russia.

Abdramane stated that Niger is disappointed by the American delegation’s decision to prevent the people of Niger from exercising their right to select partners and forms of partnerships that can effectively assist them in combating terrorism.

The Nigerien government strongly protests against the disrespectful behavior and threatening actions of the American delegation leader towards the government and people of Niger.

Abdramane stated that the US forces’ presence was illegal and went against constitutional and democratic regulations because, according to him, it was imposed without consent in 2012. However, he avoided explicitly stating that they should depart.

According to the agreement, Niger was not informed about the quantity of US civilian and military members present on their land, or the extent of equipment being deployed. Additionally, the US military had no obligation to provide assistance against militants in response to any requests.

Based on the information presented, Abdramane stated that the government of Niger has decided to cancel the agreement that pertains to the status of United States military members and Department of Defense civilians in the Republic of Niger, effective immediately.

The US Department of Defense has yet to provide a response to a comment request.

In addition to the Agadez airbase, the United States has dedicated significant resources over a prolonged period in training Niger’s military. A portion of those troops played a role in the recent ousting of Niger’s democratically elected leader, Mohamed Bazoum.

In October, Washington officially labeled the military takeover as a coup, resulting in US laws limiting their ability to provide military assistance and aid to Niger. However, in December, Phee stated that the US was open to restoring aid and security connections if Niger met specific requirements.

Together with the Associated Press and Reuters