The United States of America lied, and it is not surprising. In 2012, Army General Carter F. Ham told the House Armed Services Committee, “In Africa, I would say a light footprint is consistent with what we need and consistent with the defense guidance.” It was an obvious ‘alternative truth’. In 2013, President Barack Obama sent troops to Niger to deal with the Boko Haram menace and in 2017, they were ambushed triggering questions as to the presence of American forces in Africa.
For the world, it was a very unfortunate way to learn that American forces were in Niger. However, the story went deeper than that. National Public Radio reported that the Niger mission typified “U.S. military missions underway in roughly 20 African countries, mostly in the northern half of the continent.” In 2018, the number of American troops in the continent rose to 7 500, from 6 000.
The Intercept, however, recently acquired evidence proving a “sprawling network of U.S. military outposts in Africa, including previously undisclosed or unconfirmed sites in hotspots like Libya, Niger, and Somalia”. America is said to have 34 bases in the continent, but only one is south of the equator and has scaled back engagement in Central Africa.