Fort Bragg soldiers killed in Niger

Randolph Lopez
October 7, 2017

The Pentagon said Friday that the body of a US service member has been recovered in Niger following a militant ambush near the Mali border Wednesday, raising the American death toll to four.

"The body of another USA service member has been recovered from the area of the attack, bringing the number of US service members killed in this attack to four", Col. Rob Manning, Pentagon spokesman said in a statement.

Wednesday's attack came after US and Niger forces met with local tribal members about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Niger's capital, Niamey, near its border with Mali.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Our country is once again the target of a terrorist attack, with a large number of victims", he said.

They were part of a joint US and Nigerien mission focused on assisting, advising and training.

That assessment has come under question by several military officials because that border region has been recently destabilized by cross-border jihadist attacks on the Nigerien army and refugee camps by fighters from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Qaeda branch in North Africa.

"Niger is an important partner of ours, we have a deep relationship with them", Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday.

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The African security forces together with the Western troops are planning to initiate a counter-attack on the jihadist groups that are part of the upcoming regional mutiny in the deprived and sparsely populated deserts of Sahel.

"Our thoughts and prayers are on the families of the deceased", wrote the Army's Africa Command in a statement.

USA officials described a chaotic assault in a densely wooded area, as 40-50 extremists in vehicles and on motorcycles fired rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns at the patrol, setting off explosions and shattering windows. That effort has increased in recent years, said McKenzie.

US President Donald Trump has been briefed by his chief-of-staff, John Kelly, about the attack, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

That force will operate in the region along with a 12,000-member United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, which has become the deadliest in the world for United Nations peacekeepers, and France's 5,000-member Barkhane military operation, its largest overseas mission.

Islamist militants, including al-Qaeda fighters, operate in the region.

Mamane contributed to this story from Niamey, Niger.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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