July 6, 2024

US Forces Completing Withdrawal From Niger’s Air Base 101 on Sunday, Defense Official Says

Earlier, the United States and Niger issued a joint statement making the announcement that American forces will leave the nation “no later” than September 15. In early June, the US already began this process. US forces will complete a withdrawal from Air Base 101 in Niger on Sunday, but several hundred other troops will remain at a second air base in the country through September, a US defense official told Sputnik on Friday. However, the official noted that a majority of some 500 US troops currently in Niger are stationed at Air Base 201 near the Nigerien city of Agadez. Those troops will remain in the country through September. “They will also close down 201 as well, but the priority was 101 in Niamey first, followed by 201. AB 201 withdrawal will be complete no later than 15 September,” the official said. On June 8, the United States and Niger announced the beginning of the withdrawal of American troops from the African country. An agreement on the withdrawal was reached in mid-May. In March, Niger terminated a military agreement with the United States, according to which an American UAV base had been established in the north of the African country. A Nigerien military spokesperson said the country’s transitional government, which took power in a coup in July 2023, made such a decistion because the agreement was imposed on the country and did not meet the interests of its people. At the end of 2023, there were about 1,100 US military personnel in Niger, most of them stationed at an air force base near Agadez. Interestingly, in mid-June, Honorary Consul of Russia in the African Republic Addo Iro told Russian media that his country is ready to host a full-fledged Russian military base on the territory of the country to help reduce the number of terrorist attacks in the nation.

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Humanitarian Truce Between Army and Rebels in Eastern DRC Reportedly Comes Into Force

The Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long been suffering from insecurity caused by various rebel groups, most notably, the M23 group. The instability in the region led to extensive displacement of the population, with millions of individuals being compelled to flee their homes, according to the UN humanitarian agency OCHA. A two-week truce came into force on Friday in North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between government forces and rebels from the March 23 (M23) movement, Congolese news portal Actualite reported. The truce is reportedly of a humanitarian nature and is intended to facilitate access to aid for the local population in need, as well as facilitate the return of refugees to their homes, the electronic publication notes. There are currently 3 million refugees and displaced persons in the province. The United States participated in reaching the ceasefire agreement, the presidency noted. Over the past two weeks, rebel forces have advanced in the north of the province and were able to capture three major cities: Kanyabayonga, Kaiga and Kirumba, reports said. Their goal, according to the Congolese radio station Okapi, was to reach the vicinity of the strategically important city of Butembo. However, this week, government forces managed to stop the advance of the rebels 110 km south of Butembo. The most intense fighting took place near the city of Kasege, which is under the control of the Congolese army. The M23 group first rebelled against the government in 2012. However, they disbanded in 2013 following its defeat by the UN-backed Congolese army. The movement resumed attacks in the DRC in 2021 after accusing the country’s authorities of failing to live up to their commitment to integrate Tutsis in the government and the army.

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