US may set drone base in Nigar

NEW YORK: International media is claiming that United States will open a new drone outpost in Niger for consolidating its position in Africa while US authorities claim that there is no plan for such base.

According to news agencies, the robotic unmanned aircraft would likely be based in Niger, on the eastern border of Mali, where French forces are currently waging a campaign against Al-Qaeda. The base will be manned by around 300 US military servicemen.

However, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland reiterated that there are no plans to commit US troops to any fighting on the ground.

The United States so far has only one permanent base in Africa, in Djibouti. The drone base there is widely used for missions in nearby Yemen and allows access to Somalian and Sudanese airspace. A base in Niger would drastically shorten the response time to developing situations in the region.