The United States has handed over a Planning and Operations Control center to the Niger army to help the African nation battle Boko Haram.
According to the U.S. Ambassador Eric Whitaker, said during the handover ceremony on Monday, February 4 that the planning and operations control center, worth $16.5 million (€14.4 million), is designed to help Niger forces synchronize its operations through improved communications, U.S.
Niger is currently a U.S. and French strategic partner in the fight against Islamist terrorism in Africa. Various terror groups allied with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb that operates along the borders with Libya, Mali and Nigeria.
The center known as a ‘Command & Control (C2) Node’ comprises of two tactical operations units equipped with sophisticated communications material.
Eric Whitaker announced that the C2 center would “streamline pertinent battlefield information to commanders, so that they can best employ their forces” explaining that the U.S. believes that these capabilities are critical to helping Niger defeat Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations.
The Niger Government has previously given permission to the U.S. to operate armed MQ-9 Reaper drone currently deployed to Niger’s Air Base 101 in Niamey in a long-term strategic partnership between the U.S. and Niger to combat violent extremism in the region. There is also a drone base in Agadez that provides surveillance of Boko Haram
The U.S. has already provided Niger with Cessna C-208 surveillance planes, armored personnel vehicles and small craft known as mud boats, along with other equipment and training.
The US presence in Niger was revealed on October 4, 2017, when four US soldiers and five Nigerien troops were killed in an ambush by fighters affiliated with the Islamic State group.
In the same vein, the United States also provided a new Command and Control (C2) center to the Chadian Military in order to enable it coordinate its defense activities.