Three US Special Forces Soldiers Killed in Niger

Three US Special Forces Soldiers Killed in Niger

Three US Special Forces Soldiers Killed in Niger

Three US Army special operations commandos were killed on Wednesday and two others were wounded when they came under fire from suspected al-Qaeda militants in southwest Niger.

The New York Times said they were the first American casualties to die from hostile fire since the U.S. Africa Command deployed in Niger.

The wounded troops have been evacuated to Niger's capital and will be taken to Germany for further treatment.

Presidents of the Sahel countries of the region including Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Burkinafaso and Chad are working on final modalities to set up a G5 Sahel force to help fight the numerous groups who are active in the region.

Across Africa, the US military footprint has counterterror operations in mind.

A diplomatic source in Niger confirmed the ambush and said the attackers are believed to have come from Mali. Based on publicly available information, we know that the USA military operates or otherwise has access to at least seven different sites in Niger, including the Nigerien Air Force bases in the capital Niamay and the city of Agadez to the northeast. The three dead Green Berets represent the first USA casualties in the joint mission in Niger, where U.S Special Ops troops have been serving as advisers as the Saharan nation battles the ISIS-linked Boko Haram and the al-Qaeda group.

The three killed Wednesday are the first USA combat casualties since US forces entered Niger in 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the fallen service members. Several locals and USA soldiers were killed, several more would be missed. And the Pentagon is building a $100 million drone base in Agadez, in central Niger.

In June 2017, JNIM killed three United Nations peacekeepers and injured eight others in Kidal, Mali.

In addition, the US government says it has now identified at least one ISIS-aligned faction in West Africa.

"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.

"It's a pretty broad mission with the government of Niger, in order to increase their capability to stand alone and to prosecute violent extremists in the region", said Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who spoke alongside White at a Pentagon briefing.

The number rises to 800 when the US military personnel assigned to the embassy are factored in.

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