Germany has opened a military camp in Niger Republic. While the Sahel Region has become a place infested with terrorists, it has also become a place for foreign armies to set up their base. Germany currently has up to 1,000 troops that are part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and the country has been part of the mission for four years.
The presence of foreign military bases on the continent has been cushioned and justified under the terminology, “strategic partner”. Interestingly, the partnership always results in the presence of a foreign military base on the continent, and not the other way round.
The German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, while opening the base at Niamey, Niger said “Niger, like Mali and the other countries of the Sahel region, is part of the European neighbourhood, a neighbourhood facing unending challenges is a valuable, reliable and determined partner in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration in the region.”
Germany’s military base is however nothing compared to America’s military base. The United States is building a $110 million base for armed drones. According to U.S. Air Force officials, the base is the largest troop labour construction in U.S. history and will cost $15 million annually to operate. The U.S. base in Niger Republic is the second largest on the continent after its permanent base in Djibouti. American and French troops have been in Niger since 2013. The bigger question has however been, despite the presence of German, French, American and Italian troops in the region, Boko Haram attacks and terrorist activities are still rife, how effective have the military strategies been if the problem continues?
According to German media house, DW, “Germany is also developing other defense-related projects in Niger, including building an officer training school and expanding the military section of the capital’s airport.” With the German Defense Minister Leyen handing over 53 military transport vehicles to the Niger Defense Minister Kalla Moutari, there is bound to be more involvement of German military activities in Niger Republic.