NIAMEY - Niger has given permission for US surveillance drones to be stationed on its territory to improve intelligence on al-Qaida-linked Islamist fighters in northern Mali and the wider Sahara, a senior government source said.
The US ambassador to Niger, Bisa Williams, made the request at a meeting on Monday with President Mahamadou Issoufou, who immediately accepted it, the source said."Niger has given the green light to accepting American surveillance drones on its soil to improve the collection of intelligence on Islamist movements," said the source, who asked not to be identified.
The drones could be stationed in Niger's northern desert region of Agadez, which borders Mali, Algeria and Libya, the source said.
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