The ruling junta in Niger has announced that it has canceled an agreement allowing military and civilian personnel of the US Department of Defense to work on its territory.

The junta, which took power in Niger in a coup last July, also terminated the military agreement with the US after removing French troops from the country.  

The crisis erupted after the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and General Michael Langley, Commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM). 

Announcing the decision, Junta spokesperson Colonel Amadou Abdramane said that they were not informed about the composition, date or agenda of the delegation visiting Niger and that the US delegation did not follow diplomatic protocol. 

Abdramane noted that the defense agreement was unilaterally imposed by Washington in 2012, stressing that the status and presence of US troops in the country is illegal and violates constitutional and democratic rules.

A US official, who requested anonymity, said that senior US officials were having "frank discussions" about the course of Niger's military council and would make a statement later. 

US military presence in Niger

The US, which has approximately 1,100 troops in Niger, continues its activities from two bases. The most important of these is "Niger Air Base 201", which cost 100 million dollars and is located near the city of Agadez at the southern end of the Sahara Desert.

Niger 201 is the second largest base in Africa, after the US's permanent base in Djibouti, where it also conducts drone operations.

The base, which was built and financed by the US and owned by the Niger army, has been in service since 2019 with its high-tech satellite communication systems. Niger 201, leased from the Niger state for 10 years, is considered the largest and most expensive UAV base in the US.

The US, which spent 110 million dollars for its construction and 30 million dollars for its annual maintenance, uses the base as the main intelligence and surveillance center in the Sahel.