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Published On: Wed, Jan 30th, 2013

Niger to allow U.S. surveillance drones to be stationed in country, anti-war group says get the drones out of Africa

In an apparent effort to be closer to Mali,  US ambassador to Niger, Bisa Williams, made a request to Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou Monday to allow US drone to be based in the northwest African nation. Acording to an AlJazeera report today, President Issofou immediately agreed.

NigerImage/CIA

Niger
Image/CIA

“Niger has given the green light to accepting [US] surveillance drones on its soil to improve the collection of intelligence on Islamist movements,” the source, who asked not to be identified, said, according to the report.

The base there will allow the U.S. unmanned vehicles to conduct operations in northern Africa, including in Mali, where France has intervened to fight Islamist militants.

In addition, according to an NPR report by Tom Bowman, “Another reason for working with Niger is the U.S. wants to build up African troops and eventually get them in the lead. So a basing agreement isn’t necessarily just about drones. It’s also being able to put U.S. trainers on the ground to professionalize African forces, so that’d be another reason for this military agreement with Niger” Bowman said.

As currently planned, the drones would be strictly on a surveillance mission of the vast area of Northwest Africa and Mali in particular. The use of the drones for airstrikes has not been mentioned.

Niger will be the sixth African nation to have a US drone base. Other countries with drone bases include: Morocco, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Djibouti.

However, the military, or security interest in Africa is a new phenomenom. As Gen. Carter Ham, US AFRICOM commander said earlier this week to an audience at Howard University in Washington, DC:

And I think what happened in the mid-2000s is that the United States, perhaps belatedly, came to the conclusion that Africa was of great – is of great concern to the United States in many different ways, and so – and one of them being on the security front.  So in the mid-2000s the decision was made to form Africa Command and then formally establish the command in 2008.

Not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of more drones in Africa. The National Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, or ANSWER, announced in a press release today that they will be holding a “U.S. Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!” March and Rally at the White House in April.

The organization says in the release that, “Having killed thousands of people through U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa, the U.S. government is now putting all of Africa in the crosshairs.”

As ANSWER organizer Eugene Puryear explains, “The targeting of Africa and its vast natural resources by the Pentagon and CIA is in full swing.”

They say in addition to the drone base headquarters in Niger and a network of drone bases throughout the continent, in late December 2012, the United States announced a plan to send military missions to as many as 35 countries on the African continent.

The march and rally on Saturday, April 13.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Cris Ericson says:

    Guns & bullets, Drones & missiles…
    We have only hours left at the White House,
    the petition expires tomorrow, Jan. 31.
    “End the DRONES…Stop the killing of children”
    Tell President Barack Obama to stop
    killing children in Afghanistan,
    Yemen, Pakistan and Arab countries
    using C.I.A. ordered un-manned computer
    controlled Drone Strikes deploying
    missiles aimed at “terrorists” but which
    kill more children!
    Sign this petition:
    “End the DRONES… Stop the killing of
    children and innocent civilians.”
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions

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