Niger agrees to US drones on its territory


Niger has given permission for US surveillance drones to be stationed on its territory to improve intelligence on al Qaeda-linked fighters in northern Mali and the wider Sahara, according to a senior government source. Bisa Williams, US ambassador to Niger, made the request at a meeting on Monday with Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger president, who immediately accepted it, the source said on Wednesday. “Niger has given the green light to accepting [US] surveillance drones on its soil to improve the collection of intelligence on Islamist movements,” the source, who asked not to be identified, said. The drones could be stationed in Niger’s northern desert region of Agadez, which borders Mali, Algeria and Libya, the source said. Niger will be the sixth African nation to have a US drone base. Other countries with drone bases include: Morocco, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Djibouti. A spokesperson for the US African Command (AFRICOM) declined to comment.