Niger to let US forces arm drones in counter-terrorism fight

2017-11-05 17:03
An "octocopter" mini-drone that may be used to deliver small packages. (Amazon, AFP)

An "octocopter" mini-drone that may be used to deliver small packages. (Amazon, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Niamey - Niger will allow US forces stationed in the country to arm the drones being used to track jihadists, having previously allowed their use only for surveillance, the government said on Saturday.

The decision comes a month after jihadists ambushed a joint US-Niger patrol in a volatile area near the border with Mali, killing four American soldiers and four Nigerien troops.

But Defence Minister Kalla Moutari said the decision had been taken before the October 4 attack at Tongo Tongo.

"It was a negotiation that had been underway for a while. Arming the drones is an option we decided on before we learned of the tragedy at Tongo Tongo," Moutari told state radio.

"We are dealing with very well-armed groups," he said, and "armed drones are an appropriate and decisive response for fighting terrorism."

Niger had been reluctant to let either the US or French troops on its soil use the drones as weapons, in part because of fears for civilian casualties.

"There is a possibility of mistakes, but there's no such thing as a clean war," Moutari said.

Last month's attack was the deadliest US combat incident since President Donald Trump took office in January, and shocked many Americans unaware of the military presence in the country, which at some 800 soldiers is the largest US deployment in Africa.

On Wednesday, a joint anti-jihadist force linking forces from Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania began operating with support from the French military, aimed at restricting the freedom of movement jihadist groups have had in the region.

The G5 Sahel's activities will initially be confined to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, where governments have weak control over remote areas.

The United States this past week pledged $60m  to support the counter-terrorism force.

Read more on:    mauritania  |  burkina faso  |  niger  |  mali  |  chad  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.