American soldiers are training soldiers in Niger to fight Boko Haram militants.
The training began October 19 in Agadez, the largest city in central Niger.
More training will follow for armies in Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad, a U.S. military official told the VOA.
The Niger government asked for the training, Africa Command spokesman Chuck Prichard told VOA.
The training provides benefits to the African nations and the United States, said Major General Daryl Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa.
“This training benefits Nigeria military personnel and U.S. Army soldiers who share the mutual security goal of regional stabilityand security in Africa,” Williams said.
News of the U.S. training mission that targets Boko Haram comes after some rare good news in the fight against the militant group.
Nigerian soldiers Tuesday rescued 338 Boko Haram captives from villages near the Sambisa Forest, Nigeria military officials reported.
The Sambisa Forest is a place where Boko Haram is active.
The rescued captives include 192 children and 138 women, the Nigerian military said. None of those rescued included any of the 276 school girls taken from a Nigerian boarding school last year.
Boko Haram is an Islamic militant group operating primarily in northeastern Nigeria. It is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.
The new U.S. training mission in Niger involves about 40 U.S. soldiers.
Plans call for the training of about 150 Niger troops. Training details were not reported.
But U.S. officials said training will include basic soldier skills, as well as teaching small-arms shooting.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Words in This Story
militants – n.having or showing a desire or willingness to use strong, extreme, and sometimes forceful methods to achieve something
personnel – n.the people who work for a particular company or organization
stability – n.the quality or state of being stable
benefit– v.a good or helpful result or effect
captive– n.captured and kept in a prison, cage, etc.