The head of Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, General James Hecker, has announced that the United States (US) military has restarted its activities in Niger, including the operation of drones and various aircraft from the country’s airbases.
This follows the suspension of activities following the coup in Niger, which ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
General Hecker, speaking at the annual Air and Space Forces Association convention, informed the press that there had been a temporary halt in operations at the bases, and most of the airfields had been temporarily closed.
He mentioned that discussions with the military leadership of Niger had led to the partial resumption of intelligence and surveillance missions, but not all activities had returned to their previous levels.
“Through the diplomatic process, we are now doing, I wouldn’t say 100 percent of the missions that we were doing before, but we’re doing a large amount of missions that we’re doing before,” he said.
Around 1,100 US troops stationed in the West African nation have been restricted to their military bases since the coup in July.
Hecker mentioned that the US recently restarted flying manned and unmanned missions, with these flights resuming in the past few weeks.
These bases play a pivotal role in the broader American strategy to combat terrorism in West Africa.
The United States has made Niger as its primary regional hub for conducting extensive patrols using armed drones and executing various counterterrorism missions against insurgent groups that, over time, have captured territory, committed atrocities against civilians, and engaged foreign military forces.