Three US Special Forces troops killed in Niger ambush, reports say

Washington Post
Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Three Army Special Forces soldiers were killed in Niger in northwestern Africa after their joint patrol with Nigerien forces was ambushed, according to reports.

“We are working to confirm details on the incident and will have more information as soon as we can confirm facts on the ground,” a spokesman for the Africa Command told the Washington Post. The Associated Press reported that two U.S. soldiers were wounded. The New York Times was the first to confirm the deaths.

Africa Command did not elaborate on the nature of the patrol or why the unit would come into contact with enemy forces. The AP reported the attack occurred north of the capital Niamey, near the Mali border.

The deaths mark the first hostile fire casualties in Niger. A 3rd Special Forces Group soldier was killed in a vehicle accident there in February.

The United States has expanded its operations in Niger in recent years, including surveillance drone flights piloted from Niamey. The United States is also finishing construction on an installation at Agadez, a central city in the Sahara, that will move flights closer to southern Libya and northern Mali, where drone operators can monitor militants traversing remote desert stretches.

Third Special Forces Group and other forces are tasked with training missions in Niger to combat extremist groups in the region, including security assistance with intelligence and reconnaissance efforts.