African leaders fighting terrorists in their domains could now count on the support coming from the United States which is totally against the insurgents on the continent as President Barack Obama asks for the increase of the US troops in Niger to about 180.
According to reports, the U.S. has now increased the number of troops at its military drone base in Niger to about 180, from its initial 40 in February this year. The U.S. had earlier this year established a drone base for the sake of dealing with the Boko Haram terror threat in Nigeria, and other countries in the west and central African regions.
Obama has reportedly sent a letter to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate at the weekend, disclosing that he had "deployed U.S. combat-equipped forces to enhance the counter-terrorism capabilities and support the counter-terrorism operations of our friends and allies, including special operations and other forces for sensitive operations in various locations around the world."
The letter dated June 14 and signed by Obama himself disclosed under the sub-heading - "Military Operations in Niger in Support of U.S. Counter-terrorism Objectives" - that "As detailed in my report of February 22, 2013, and at my direction, on February 20, 2013, the last elements of a deployment of 40 additional U.S. military personnel entered Niger with the consent of the Government of Niger."
Obama wrote that "this deployment provides support for intelligence collection and facilitates intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region. The total number of U.S. military personnel deployed in Niger is approximately 180."
Observers say by adding more troops to the drone base in Niger, the U.S. is sharpening its strategy against Boko Haram, upon whose leader the State Department recently placed a $7 million bounty some weeks ago.
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