Three Army Special Forces Killed in Niger After Ambush

  • Three Army Special Forces Killed in Niger After Ambush

Three Army Special Forces Killed in Niger After Ambush

The attack, which also wounded two USA soldiers and killed at least one Nigerien soldier, took place during a routine patrol in a part of southwestern Niger where insurgents, including from al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), are active, a USA official told Reuters. The wounded were evacuated to the capital of Niamey and the wounded Americans were then put on a plane to Germany where they were receiving medical treatment.

In June, as required by law, President Donald Trump notified Congress that about 645 US military personnel were in Niger. There has been no claim of responsibility yet. The three Americans killed and two others wounded in Wednesday's ambush were part of the mission to train and advise Nigerien forces. The attackers were said to come from nearby Mali, which is where al-Qaeda's branch in North Africa is fighting the Nigerian government and a French-led coalition.

These are the first casualties in the Special Forces' mission to assist Nigerien troops.

Why are USA soldiers in Africa?

A statement by U.S. Africa Command on Thursday said one unspecified "partner nation member" had died but did not name the nation.

"ISIS and al Qaeda have taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Libya to establish sanctuaries for plotting, inspiring and directing terror attacks; recruiting and facilitating the movement of foreign terrorist fighters; and raising and moving funds to support their operations", US Africa Command said in a September 28 statement.

Islamic State-linked militants may have been responsible for the ambush, US officials said Thursday.

The new drone base in Niger will be the latest of about a dozen small bases ("cooperative security locations" in Pentagon-ese) spread throughout the continent.

Family has confirmed that Dustin Wright was one of three soldiers killed in Niger.

For as long as the regional jihadist threat remains, the U.S. and other Western powers will continue to strengthen their presence on the ground. The Green Berets along with their Nigerien force of 30 most likely set up a forward operating camp in Tongo Tongo with the intent on routing terrorists groups crossing into Mali along with disrupting their basecamps within Niger as well.

The United States has about 800 service members in Niger, where it operates surveillance drones out of a $100 million base in the central city of Agadez to support the country's efforts to combat jihadists and protect its porous borders.