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Niger: 5 Nigerien/3 US troops killed in ambush

10/5/2017 12:00:00 AM   |      |   

 Southwest, Niger (AA): Five Nigerien and three U.S. Army Special Forces were killed and others wounded in an ambush on a joint patrol in southwest Niger Wednesday night.

A spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command confirmed the attack to Radio France International (RFI) by telephone.

“We can confirm reports that a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger,” the spokesman said.

Namatta Abubacar, an official for the region of Tillaberi in Niger, told Niger TV five Nigerian soldiers were among the dead.

A statement issued by the US Africa command center also stated about the attack. The statement says “the US Africa, a joint US and Nigerien troops on patrol came under hostile fire near Tongo Tongo village in Southwest Niger.

All five American soldiers were Green Berets, said two United States military officials. The attack took place 120 miles north of Niamey, the capital of Niger, near the border with Mali, where militants with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an affiliate of Al Qaeda,

A Special Forces soldier died in a vehicle accident in Niger in February.

US forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien armed forces including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts to target violent extremist organizations in the region. One aspect of that is training, assisting and advising Nigeriens to increase their ability to bring security and stability to their people” the statement ended.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but the area is largely controlled by insurgents, including members of the al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Islamic State.

African security forces backed by Western troops are stepping up efforts to counter jihadist groups forming part of a growing regional insurgency in the troubled Sahel region where several groups are roaming.

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.



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