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Niger to allow U.S. forces to arm drones

AFP NIAMEY (AFP-Jiji) — Niger will allow U.S. forces stationed in the country to arm the drones being used to track jihadists, having previously allowed their use only for surveillance, the government said Saturday.

The decision comes a month after jihadists ambushed a joint U.S.-Niger patrol in a volatile area near the border with Mali, killing four American soldiers and four Nigerien troops.

But Defense Minister Kalla Moutari said the decision had been taken before the October 4 attack at Tongo Tongo.

“It was a negotiation that had been underway for a while. Arming the drones is an option we decided on before we learned of the tragedy at Tongo Tongo,” Moutari told state radio.Speech

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