Washington, 15 Rabiul Akhir 1434/25 February 2013 (MINA) – U.S. defense officials said the United States has deployed Predator drones several West African countries Niger to fly reconnaissance missions in support of French forces fighting Islamic neighboring Mali.
       The officials cited in U.S. news reports said the plane armed robots should be based near the capital of Niger, Niamey, along with a contingent of about 100 U.S. military personnel.
       U.S. President Barack Obama told Congress on Friday that U.S. troops would provide support for intelligence gathering. Obama did not explicitly disclose drone bases in the letter, but military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the troops arrived Wednesday in Niger is mostly Air Force personnel there to support flying drones.
       Officials say the drones are for surveillance only and will not be equipped with missiles, according to BBC News reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Monday morning.
       United States and Europe have voiced concerns that al-Qaeda and their allies are seeking to expand their influence, to change some parts of West Africa into the global security threat.
       French troops entered Mali in January to push back the militants moved to the capital, Bamako.
       France since said it plans to begin withdrawing its troops ashore and handed over to the military operations and the Mali army troops Africa. France also has urged the UN to establish a peacekeeping mission in Mali. (T/P013/E1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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