Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

US: Russian Forces Cannot Reach Our Troops in Niger

Fri 03 May 2024 | 09:24 AM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed on Friday that Russian military personnel have entered an airbase hosting American forces, according to Reuters. 

However, Austin reassured that there is no substantial threat to U.S. troops as the Russians are stationed in a separate complex within Airbase 101, adjacent to Diori Hamani International Airport.

This revelation comes amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia, particularly in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The Pentagon clarified that while the Russian forces are indeed present at the airbase, they do not have access to American troops or equipment.

During a press conference in Honolulu, Austin stated, "The Russians are housed in a separate compound. They cannot access our forces or our equipment. The safety and protection of our troops is always my top priority, but at this moment, I see no major issue concerning the protection of our forces."

The entry of Russian troops follows a directive from Niger's military council, which assumed power after a coup last year, demanding the withdrawal of approximately 1,000 U.S. military personnel who had been a key part of Washington's efforts to combat insurgents in West Africa. These insurgents have killed thousands and displaced millions over the years.

A senior Pentagon official, who requested anonymity, indicated that the Russian military's presence does not involve interaction with American forces, rather they occupy a separate area of Airbase 101.

This development poses serious questions about the future of U.S. installations in Niger following the potential withdrawal of American forces. It also highlights the proximity of U.S. and Russian military personnel in a region where both nations are increasingly vying for military and diplomatic influence.

The situation in Niger illustrates the complex geopolitical dynamics at play and the delicate balance of power in regions critical to global security strategies.