US & Niger soldiers ‘killed in ambush’

Three American soldiers were killed and two others wounded in an ambush in Niger near the border with Mali, reports say. Several Nigerien soldiers are also said to have died in the attack.

US Africa Command said the patrol had come under “hostile fire” and was working to confirm the details.
The US army has been providing training to Niger’s army to help combat Islamist militants in the region, including the North African branch of al-Qaeda.

The militants are most active in neighbouring Mali, where French troops intervened in 2013 to prevent them advancing on the capital.

The Boko Haram group, based in Nigeria to the south, has also staged several attacks in Niger.

U.S. Africa Command confirmed reports that a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger.

“We are working to confirm details on the incident and will have more information as soon as we can confirm facts on the ground,” said a U.S. Africa Command statement on the situation.

U.S. Forces are in the African nation to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces, including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) efforts, in their efforts to target violent extremist organizations in the region.

One aspect of that is training, advising and assisting the Nigeriens in order to increase their ability to bring stability and security to their people.

In coordination with local governments, U.S. forces conducted a number of precision airstrikes against ISIS militants in Libya, in Somalia against al-Shabaab and elsewhere on the continent.

A poor 2011 harvest, the violence in Libya, plus the security threat from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Nigeria-based group Boko Haram have complicated the government’s efforts to improve Niger’s economy, strengthen governance, and address human rights.

Men and women of the 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron in Agadez, Niger, are participating in construction of a temporary base what is locally known as “FLEXIT,” short for “Flintlock Exit.”

“Our host nation was kind enough to let us set up a temporary base next to their local military basic training site while we established our base, eventually building up a flight line for air operations,” 1st Lt. Danielle Tabb, Civil Engineer Flight commander and base civil engineer said. “This move gives us more room to effectively work in a deployed environment, while still helping the Forces Armées Nigeriennes (FAN) build up their national defense.”


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