Concerns mount as Russian troops take over US base in Niger

Russian military personnel have entered an air base in Niger that is hosting US troops – a move that follows a decision by Niger's junta to expel Amercian forces from the country.

Niger's ruling junta has told the US to withdraw its nearly 1,000 military personnel from the country, which until a coup last year had been a key partner for Washington's fight against insurgents who have killed thousands of people and displaced millions across the Sahel.

Russian forces are reportedly not mingling with US troops but were using a separate hangar at Airbase 101, which is next to Diori Hamani International Airport in Niger's capital, Niamey.

The move by Russia's military puts US and Russian troops in close proximity at a time when the nations' military and diplomatic rivalry is increasingly acrimonious over the conflict in Ukraine.

It also raises questions about the fate of US installations in the country following a withdrawal.

Russia in Africa

The US and its allies have been forced to move troops out of a number of African countries following coups that brought to power groups eager to distance themselves from Western governments.

In addition to the impending departure from Niger, US troops have also left Chad in recent days, while French forces have been kicked out of Mali and Burkina Faso.

It was not immediately clear what US military equipment remains at Airbase 101.

Read more on RFI English

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