Buhari/G7 Leaders Summit: Obama Renews US War Powers Against Terror Groups
In a letter dated Thursday June 11, Obama said: “The United States continue to work with partners around the globe, with a particular focus on the US Central Command’s and US Africa Command’s areas of responsibility.”
He disclosed specifically that about 200 US troops remain in Niger, Nigeria’s neighbouring country stationed to help regional efforts including fight against Boko Haram.
The letter, which is a constitutional mandate on the President to regularly update the US Congress on the exercise of the President’s war powers, added: “In this context, the United States has deployed US combat-equipped forces to enhance counterterrorism capabilities and support the counterterrorism operations of our friends and allies.”
Informed sources noted that the letter is also connected to the outcome of last week’s G7 summit, where the G7 leaders of the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Germany promised ready support to Buhari and other nations facing dire terrorist insurgencies and crisis.
In the communiqué of the G7 summit, the leaders noted: “The scourge of terrorism has affected countless innocent victims. It denies tolerance, the enjoyment of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom, destroys cultural heritage and uproots millions of people from their homes. In light of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters phenomenon, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism will have to remain the priority for the whole international community.”
The G7 leaders then added more specifically: “In this context, we welcome the continued efforts of the Global Coalition to counter ISIL/Da’esh. We reaffirm our commitment to defeating this terrorist group and combating the spread of its hateful ideology. We stand united with all countries and regions afflicted by the brutal terrorist acts, including Iraq, Tunisia and Nigeria whose leaders participated in our discussions at Schloss Elmau.”
It was also declared by the leaders, having noted the participation of leaders like President Buhari, that there is “a task for all nations and societies to confront the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, including the spread of hatred and intolerance, also through the Internet, by promoting good governance and respect for human rights. We stress the importance of implementing necessary measures to detect and prevent acts of terrorism, to prosecute those responsible, and rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders, in accordance with international law, and prevent the financing of terrorism.”
With specific reference to Nigeria, the G7 leaders also welcomed “the strengthening of democratic institutions and growing economic opportunities across Africa, and note this progress under challenging circumstances across the continent, including progress in establishing stability in Somalia and a largely peaceful democratic transition in Nigeria. We reiterate our continued commitment to support African partners in addressing challenges to security, governance and stability, including in Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Nigeria and most recently Burundi.”
On returning to Washington DC, Obama’s letter to the US Congress therefore detailed places around the world where US forces and equipment are currently being deployed and used in the fight against terror groups, noting that such war efforts of the US will continue in the foreseeable future. Among other places, US military resources are stationed in Niger with particular focus on groups and situations including Boko Haram and other places in Africa including the Sahel and Somalia
Coming close to Nigeria, Obama reported to the US Congress in the letter regarding ongoing US “Military Operations in Niger in Support of US Counterterrorism Objectives.”
According to him, “United States military personnel in Niger continue to provide support for intelligence collection and to facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in the Sahel and with other partners in the region. The total number of US military personnel deployed to Niger is approximately 200.”
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