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Trump Administration Offers $60 Million To Help Several African Nations Fight Terrorism


The Trump administration is offering up to $60 million to help several African nations work together to fight terrorism. The news comes as Congress looks more closely at U.S. military activities in the region following the ambush in Niger this month that killed four American service members. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Five nations - Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad - are looking for help as they try to battle extremists from Boko Haram to ISIS and al-Qaida. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, says the U.S. will contribute up to $60 million to help them get organized.


NIKKI HALEY: We understand the force will need ongoing support and are eager for opportunities to work closely with our partners to make this effort a successful one. But we believe that the G5 force must be first and foremost owned by the countries of the region themselves.

KELEMEN: A Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chris Coons of Delaware, says $60 million is just a start.


CHRIS COONS: Our allies in the region are stretched thin. The flood of weapons - the absolute flood of weapons into this region after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya has profoundly destabilized the region. And these are vast areas.

KELEMEN: And the U.S., Coon says, needs more than just one tool to respond.


COONS: Focusing solely on a military means of addressing the instability across the Sahel misses the central role of development and diplomacy along with defense.

KELEMEN: And Coon's worries about what he calls the savage budget cuts by this administration and the lack of clarity on U.S. policy in Africa. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, the State Department.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLAKO'S "MOONCHILD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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