US starts to exit Niger

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The departure, last Friday (7 June), of a United States Air Force (USAF) C-17 Globemaster III from Niamey marked the start of US assets and forces withdrawing from Niger.

A US Africa Command (Africom) statement has it the withdrawal progressed from initial preparations to re-deployment, calling the C-17 flight the beginning of “a significant transition”.

The flight, according to the statement, exemplified productive co-operation between the US and Nigerien armed forces through the Joint Disengagement Commission (JDC), tasked with overseeing and co-ordinating an orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the West African country.

Through the JDC’s co-operative and transparent efforts, a small contingent of US personnel went to Niger to provide logistic support, ensuring an efficient withdrawal of remaining forces and assets from Air Bases 101 and 201, African said. At the same time some US forces elements redeployed from Niger to home stations with mission contributions concluded.

“Both US and Nigerien officials are dedicated to completing a safe, orderly and responsible withdrawal by September 15. They emphasise their commitment to the protection and security of American forces during this process.

“The US Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defence recognise the joint sacrifices made by both nations’ forces in the fight against terrorism. They commend each other’s efforts in strengthening the Nigerien Armed Forces and express a shared commitment to continued co-operation in areas of mutual interest.

“This withdrawal of US forces will not impact on ongoing development relations between the US and Niger. Both countries remain committed to sustained diplomatic dialogue to shape the future of their bilateral relations,” the statement reads.