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217 words - February 26, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
On February 20, "the last elements of a deployment of approximately 40 additional US military personnel entered Niger with the consent of the Government of Niger," reads a letter from President Barack Obama to the House Speaker John Boehner and the Senate President pro tempore Patrick Leahy. "This deployment will provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region," the letter explained.
Providing their own force protection and security, the troops will promote regional stability in support of US diplomacy and national security, and strengthen relationships with regional leaders committed to security and prosperity, Africa Command (AFRICOM) officials said. A total of 100 US troops, mostly Air Force (USAF) specialists, have been deployed so far in the capital, Niamey before subsequently allegedly heading north to Agadey.
They are part of a unit that flies unarmed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with a view to collecting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data. The deployment takes place in accordance with last-month agreement on the status of American forces in Niger, three years after US concerns over the "attempts" by Niger leaders to "extend their terms of office".
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