The Public Is Being Kept in the Dark About U.S. Military Activities in West Africa

The Public Is Being Kept in the Dark About U.S. Military Activities in West Africa
Myeshia Johnson cries over the casket of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an assault in Niger, Miami, Oct. 17, 2017 (WPLG via AP).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

Last October, when four U.S. soldiers were killed after coming under attack in the West African nation of Niger, various lawmakers in Washington said they had been unaware the U.S. military had any kind of presence in the country. “I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger,” Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, said on “Meet the Press.” He added, “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing.”

Part of this could be attributed to lawmakers’ own failure to keep up with news reports from the region, to say nothing of the classified information they have access to. The fact that the U.S. military was developing a drone base in Niger, for example, was not exactly a secret.

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