Three U.S. troops were killed and two others were wounded in southwest Niger close to the Mali-Niger border when a joint US-Nigerien patrol was attacked Wednesday by hostile fire. U.S. military officials confirmed the news to national media.
The two wounded U.S. Special Operations Forces members have been evacuated to the capital, and would be transferred the soonest to Germany for better medical treatment. They are in stable condition.
The U.S. troops were part of a team giving advice and assistance to local forces when they came under hostile fire and eventually led to the death of two American troops.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the attack by chief of staff John Kelly.
The U.S. has maintained a small force in the northwest African country with a small group of the U.S. Special Operations Forces advising local troops in their battle against terrorist groups, specifically the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram and al Qaeda’s North African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The U.S. has provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to support the French forces in Mali and Niger.
The U.S. is also establishing a drone base just outside the city of Agadez in Niger in an effort to boost regional counter-terrorism efforts.
The military cautions, however, that reports on the attack are still under “early assessment” and more information will come in later.
This is a developing story.