US military repositions some troops in Niger, pulls non-essential personnel

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(VOVWORLD) - The Pentagon is repositioning some troops and equipment within Niger and will withdraw a small number of non-essential personnel "out of an abundance of caution," US officials told Reuters on Thursday, the first major American military movement in Niger since a coup in July.

The officials declined to say how many personnel would be departing and how many were repositioning within Niger.

Before this movement, there were 1,100 troops in the West African country. The officials declined to give more details on the reason for the repositioning. It is generally easier to evacuate people from a single location, though there is no evidence that is imminent.

Over the past decade, US troops have trained Niger's forces in counter-terrorism and conducted drone missions against Islamic State and an al Qaeda affiliate in the region.

The United States has been pressing for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis that erupted on July 26 when Niger military officers seized power, deposed President Mohamed Bazoum and placed him under house arrest.