The Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), and the Co-Chairs of the CBC Task Force on Foreign Affairs and National Security, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX-33), issued the following joint statement in response to the recent attacks in Niger.
“The early October attack that left four American service members dead in Niger has raised a number of important questions about exactly what happened, highlighted growing counterterrorism efforts across the continent, and emphasized the need for the Administration to reveal its policy toward Africa.
“During Monday’s press conference, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, confirmed that the U.S. has had up to 800 military officials in Niger, the largest American force anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, and divulged that there are some 6,000 U.S. troops across the continent. This revelation causes deep concern for the Congressional Black Caucus.
“The U.S. has made great gains in Africa across several administrations. These gains have included developing the next generation of leaders; investing in infrastructure projects through the Millennial Challenge Corporation (MCC); improving trade relations through the African Growth and Opportunity Act and entrepreneurship programs; addressing a variety of health concerns through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI); strengthening democratic institutions; and supporting a variety of peace and security initiatives.
“Our policy toward Africa should be multidimensional and robust, and should utilize all of our foreign policy tools, including diplomacy and development, to their maximum capacity. When defense and diplomacy work in tandem, we will be successful in aiding the second largest continent in the world.
“We call for a full investigation into the events that led to the tragic loss of four soldiers in Niger and a briefing on this Administration’s policy toward Africa.”