Obama Sends Troops and Drones to Niger
The United States has taken another step in ramping up its military presence in Africa, deploying about 100 troops to Niger to man a drone air base.
Located temporarily in the capital, Niamey, the base will house about half a dozen unarmed Predator drones whose mission, for now, will be to collect intelligence to help the French-led combat against Islamist extremist groups trying to take over the government of Mali.
A military official told The Washington Post that eventually the U.S. would like to relocate the base to the northern Niger city of Agadez, which is closer to the Malian territory where the rebels are located. U.S. contractors have already been operating surveillance flights out of Agadez for several months.
About 60 American military personnel were previously sent to Niger, with another 40 arriving last week. Most of the recent arrivals consisted of Air Force logistics specialists, intelligence analysts and security officers.
To Learn More:
U.S. Troops Arrive In Niger To Set Up Drone Base (by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post)
New Drone Base in Niger Builds U.S. Presence in Africa (by Eric Schmitt and Scott Sayare, New York Times)
U.S. to Expand Drone Operations with New Base in West Africa (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)
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