A joint United State-Nigerien patrol was attacked near the Mali-Niger border on Wednesday, October 6th. Three Green Berets of the US Special Operation Forces were killed and two others were wounded, causing the troops to be evacuated to Niamey, the capital, and then to Germany. The US military has had a presence in the Niger to advise and aid local groups as they battle Boko Haram and Al Qaeda’s branch in North Africa, the Islamic Maghreb. Despite the French-led military counter-terrorism efforts, also known as Operation Barkhane, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has a constant appearance in the Mali-Niger border area and the US military aims to help by providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. The goal was to aid the Nigeriens to increase their ability to bring stability and security to their people.
US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo who oversees US operations in Niger claims the military is still “working to confirm details on the incident.” Wednesday’s casualties were not the first this year in the fight against terror groups in Africa. In response to the growing threat, the Pentagon is in the process of establishing a drone base outside of Agadez in Niger to bolster regional counter-terrorism efforts while the US is using a local airport as a base. The construction of the airbase is estimated to be the largest military labor troop project in the US Air Force history.