Report: Russian Troops Enter Base Housing US Troops in Niger

The US is dragging its feet on the withdrawal from Niger

Russian troops have entered a military base in Niger that houses US military personnel, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing a senior US defense official.

The official said that the Russian troops were at Airbase 101 in Niger’s capital Niamey but were using a separate hangar and were not mingling with US troops. “(The situation) is not great but in the short-term manageable,” the official said.

CNN later reported that Russian troops have been operating out of the base for at least several weeks.

The news comes after the US said it would agree to a request from Niger’s military-led government to leave the country, but the US continues to drag its feet on the withdrawal. Niger said it severed its military relationship in March after US officials lectured their Nigerien counterparts about their growing ties with Russia.

Last month, a whistleblower told Congress that the US refusal to withdraw from Niger was putting US troops in danger. The whistleblower, a senior Air Force leader, said that US officials were suppressing intelligence to maintain a “facade” of good relations between the US and Niger.

Niger’s government took power after a July 2023 coup that ousted former President Mohamed Bazoum and has already expelled French forces.

Allowing Russian troops to enter Airbase 101 could be a pressure tactic from Niger’s government to get the US to withdraw. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said on April 19 that the US agreed to leave, but the following week, Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. Christopher Grady claimed that no final decision had been made.

The US has a major drone base in Niger, known as Airbase 201, in the city of Agadez that cost over $100 million. Airbase 201 serves as a hub for US operations in the region, and the US doesn’t want to give it up.

About 1,100 US military personnel are in Niger, and the whistleblower said that they have been unable to go home when their deployment was scheduled to end since Niger is not allowing their relief into the country.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.