Six weeks after the military takeover in Niger, the United States, while refraining from labeling it a coup d’état, has initiated the repositioning of a portion of its troops stationed in the country, as announced by the Pentagon on Thursday, September 7th.
Following the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum by the military on July 26th, the United States has undertaken the process of repositioning its troops in Niger. This decision was officially conveyed by Sabrina Singh, the Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense. She emphasized that this move is purely precautionary, clarifying, “We do not perceive any threat to American troops, and there is no violence on the ground. It’s simply a precautionary measure. What we are currently doing is repositioning some of our personnel and assets from Air Base 101 in Niamey to Air Base 201 in Agadez. But it is a straightforward precautionary measure.”
Singh further disclosed that a “small group” would remain at the Niamey base once the ongoing transfer is completed. She also noted that “certain non-essential personnel and contractors” had already left the country several weeks ago. The U.S. military had previously suspended joint exercises with the Nigerien armed forces, and the U.S. diplomatic mission in Niamey had ordered the departure of non-essential personnel from its embassy in early August.
Currently, Niger hosts approximately 1,100 American soldiers engaged in operations against active jihadist groups in the region.
The move to reposition troops in Niger comes amid ongoing geopolitical developments in the region, raising questions about the stability of the country and the broader security implications for the Sahel. The United States’ decision to frame this action as a precaution underscores its commitment to safeguarding the safety and security of its military personnel while emphasizing that it does not imply a direct link to ongoing military activities by other international actors, such as the French military.