Written by Matilde Castoldi
Edited by Christopher Amrobo Enemuwe
Supervised by Cansu Macit Karaduman
This InfoFlash completes the picture and follows up after “The Sahel Crisis – What is Happening in Niger? A First Look”.
Today, Niger hosts Niger Air Base 201—the US’s largest drone base (Jones, 2023), located in the city of Agadez—which is used to monitor extremist groups (Gordon, 2023), and to which, “as a precautionary measure” (Mitchell, 2023) after 26 July, the US repositioned a portion of its personnel. Following the coup, which the US only acknowledged as such on 10 October (Miller, 2023), monitoring drone flights were suspended; as of mid-September, they have slowly and discreetly resumed (Gordon, 2023). That which has not resumed, however, are US training efforts despite having spent around 500 million US Dollars in Niger, of which 110 million were used to construct the drone base in Agadez. Additionally, as a result of the categorisation of the events of 26 July as a coup d’état, the US is suspending the bulk of its assistance to Niger. In fact, section 7008(a) of its Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 states that “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available […] shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree” (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, 2022). The US had already suspended certain assistance programmes totalling circa 200 million US Dollars; as of 10 October 2023, they are suspending all assistance short of life-saving humanitarian, food, and health assistance (Miller, 2023). Today, although about 1,000 personnel are based in Niger, it is unclear whether they will stay, and if they do, for how long (Babb, 2023).