US military completes withdrawal from Niamey Air Base 101 in Niger

U.S. Air Force photo

US and Nigerien military personnel held a ceremony on July 7, 2024, to mark the conclusion of the withdrawal of US military forces from Air Base 101 in Niamey. 

The process began in early June 2024, with US forces gradually handing over control to the Nigerien government. 

“Today we reflect positively on the past 15 years of security cooperation and shared sacrifice by US forces and Nigerien forces,” said US Air Force Major General Kenneth Ekman. “I am grateful for the close collaboration with our Nigerien hosts to support the safe, orderly and responsible withdrawal of US forces commemorated today at Air Base 101.” 

After the overthrow of Niger President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023, a military junta known as the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) took power, leading to the revocation of several military cooperation agreements with Western countries.  

France was the first to leave the country, with forces departing Air Base 101 Niamey on December 22, 2023. The base, situated on Diori Hamani International Airport (NIM) grounds, was established to support Operation Barkhane, a counter-terrorism mission in the Sahel region.  

In March 2024, the Nigerien junta requested the withdrawal of approximately 1,000 US service members. The US military has until September 15, 2024, to leave the West African nation. 

Following the withdrawal from Air Base 101, efforts will now move on to Air Base 201, near the city of Agadez in central Niger. The base’s construction started in 2016 and had a price tag of more than $100 million. In 2019, the US Africa Command began intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations in the area utilizing MQ-9 Reaper drones stationed at the base. 

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