On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that all US troops deployed to Niger, Mali, and the northern part of Cameroon now qualify to receive imminent danger day (IDP) of $225 per month, retroactive to June of 2017. The retroactive date was implemented to allow the families of the four soldiers slain in Niger in October to collect.
The IDP reflects a growing recognition of the danger that US troops deployed in this region of Western Africa are facing. Exact numbers of US troops across those regions are now clear, but in Niger alone, the US is believed to have in the neighborhood of 1,000 troops deployed.
The Pentagon says that the three locations were previously qualified for hardship duty pay (HDP) at $150 per month, and that as part of the introduction of IDP, the HDP rate will be reduced to only $100 per month.
While IDP is intended for troops who are in a country where they face imminent danger or combat, HDP is broader, and only intended to compensate the troops for having to live in countries with a low quality-of-life.
US troops in Western Africa are there primarily with an eye toward fighting Islamist factions that are tied with al-Qaeda and ISIS. The US also has a substantial drone base in Niger, which after the October killing of four US troops was given permission to fly armed drones intended to kill targets on the ground.