US military personnel deployed to Niger on support mission
Washington: President Barack Obama has stated that about 100 US military personnel have been deployed to the west African nation of Niger.
In a letter to Congress, Obama says that the forces will focus on "intelligence sharing" with French troops fighting Islamist militants in neighbouring Mali.
The letter adds that American forces have been deployed with weapons "for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security".
The US and Niger have signed an agreement last month spelling out legal protections and obligations of Americans who might operate from the African nation. But US officials had declined at the time to discuss specific plans for a military presence there.
The Pentagon is also considering plans to base unarmed spy drones in Niger to boost its surveillance capabilities in the region.