Unidentified ambushers kill three US commandos and five allies in Niger

Cheryl Sanders
October 5, 2017

Three U.S. Special Forces soldiers were killed and another two wounded in an ambush in the West African nation of Niger, according to reports late Wednesday.

The officials said the two wounded were taken to Niamey, the capital, and are in stable condition.

US Africa Command said the patrol had come under "hostile fire" and was working to confirm the details. The U.S. has increased its attention and resources devoted to the Sahel region of northern Africa, a band stretching from Senegal to Sudan. Reuters reported five Nigerien soldiers were killed as well.

A Niger diplomatic source said the attackers had come from Mali and had killed several soldiers, without saying whether any of the US troops stationed in the West African country were among the victims.

President Trump was briefed on the attack by John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

The deaths mark the first American casualties in a mission in which United States Special Forces have provided training and security assistance to the Nigerien armed forces, including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Militants belonging to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) - an affiliate of al-Qaeda - are active in the region and are known to have conducted cross-border raids.

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