Sunday, October 02, 2016

U.S. Doubles Investment In Niger Drone Base To $100M For Counter-Terrorism
By Staff
October 1, 2016, 5:49 am
The price tag for the construction and operation of a key US military drone base in Niger has skyrocketed, reaching $100 million, according to US media. Niger is the only state from which Washington operates its lethal MQ-9 drones in Northwest Africa.

The hub, codenamed “Air Base 201” is being built on the outskirts of Agadez, the largest city in central Niger.

Now Washington is set to double the initial sum of $50 million for the military site, The Intercept reported citing documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The request for finances was submitted to Congress in the 2015 defense bill and authorized by President Barack Obama.

After analyzing documents obtained from Pentagon, The Intercept found that in addition to the initial $50 million for the construction, the US military would receive nearly $50 million more for the “operation and maintenance” of the hub.

According to the documents obtained by the outlet, the project is “considered the most important US military construction effort in Africa.”

“Air Base 201” should host MQ-9 Reapers – an upgraded model of a lethal Predator drone. “Niger is the only country in NW Africa” to allow Washington to operate the drones to target potential terror threats from the base, the documents say.

“RPA presence in NW Africa supports operations against seven [Department of State]-designated foreign terrorist organizations,” one of the papers reads. Apart from the remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), the base will be able to host C -17 transport planes.

According to a 2015 note to Congress the US “negotiated an agreement with the government of Niger,” to construct the facility.

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