Niger Junta ends military cooperation with US

Niger’s military junta has ended a military accord that allowed US troops to operate in the country.

This is a set back to United States agenda in the region and has raised the prospect of increased Russian influence in Afrt.

The Junta spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdramane said in a television broadcast late on Saturday that the 2012 military agreement between the two countries was “illegal and violates all constitutional rules” and that it was “profoundly unfair” to Niger’s people.

The Junta said the defence co-operation agreement in effect ends their mission in the nation of 25mn people.

The announcement comes days after a US delegation, including assistant secretary of state for African affairs Molly Phee and head of the US-Africa Command General Michael Langley, visited the Nigerien capital Niamey for talks with government leaders.

The US maintains more than 1,000 soldiers and civilian employees in Niger and runs two drone bases to monitor affiliates of the Islamist groups Islamic State and al-Qaeda that are active in the Sahel, the semi-arid region south of the Sahara.

Abdramane described the US officials as “condescending” towards the Nigerien government and people.

“Niger regrets the intention of the American delegation to deny the sovereign Nigerien people the right to choose their partners and types of partnerships capable of truly helping them fight against terrorism,” Abdramane said.

“Also, the government of Niger forcefully denounces the condescending attitude, accompanied by the threat of retaliation, from the head of the American delegation towards the Nigerien government and people.”