2018/02/19 Late in the morning of October 4 last year, a convoy of Nigerien and American special forces soldiers in eight vehicles left the village of Tongo Tongo. As they made their way between mud-brick houses with thatched roofs, they were attacked from one side by dozens of militants, if not hundreds. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Nigeriens and Americans fled, some on foot, running for cover behind trees and clusters of millet, their boots caked in the light brown earth. By the time the fighting was over, five Nigeriens and four Americans were killed, their bodies left naked in the bush after the militants took their uniforms. Continuer à lire … « Niger/US – A Massive U.S. Drone Base Could Destabilize Niger — and May Even Be Illegal Under Its Constitution »
2018/02/10 – 2017 was a year of investigations for U.S. Africa Command. There was the investigation of the two-star commander of U.S. Army Africa who allegedly sent racy texts to an enlisted man’s wife. There was the investigation into the alleged killing of an Army Special Forces soldier by Navy SEALs in Mali. There was the inquiry into reports of torture and killings on a remote base in Cameroon that was also used by American forces. Continuer à lire … « Mali/Niger : Drug Wars, Missing Money and a Phantom $500 Million »
2018/02/08 – Sub-Saharan Africa has long been a strategic backwater for American foreign policy. Until the mid-2000s, American engagement in the region was sporadic and limited to areas of Cold War conflict or humanitarian crisis. However, the October deaths of four U.S. Green Berets and five Nigerien soldiers in Niger has thrown a public spotlight on a growing U.S. military presence in Africa. At present, AFRICOM, the U.S. military command responsible for Africa, oversees the activities of some 6,000 troops on the continent, of which over 800 are based in Niger. Apart from the large base at Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti, the United States maintains a dozen or so “cooperative security locations,” i.e. small semi-permanent military installations across Africa. This will soon include a substantial $100 million dollar base in the central Nigerien city of Agadez to host and support drone operations. Continuer à lire … « Niger/Sahel: The Destabilizing Dangers of U.S. Counterterrorism in the Sahel »
2018/01/25 – The U.S. military is reviewing images posted on social media purportedly showing dead American soldiers from the Oct. 4 ambush in Niger.
One author and researcher posted on Twitter that a video broadcast by an affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) lasted more than 10 minutes and included scenes of a wounded soldier and the bodies of the three other U.S. soldiers killed in the ambush. Continuer à lire … « Niger/US -Pentagon looking into images purporting to show US soldiers killed in Niger »
08/01/18 – Later this month, the Pentagon is scheduled to release the results of its investigation of the circumstances surrounding the preventable deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger last October. Continuer à lire … « Niger – America’s shadow war in Africa is dangerous and counterproductive »
29/11/17 – The deaths of four U.S. Special Forces soldiers in Niger last month have raised questions about America’s role in the fight against violent extremism in a sparsely populated region of Africa.
Before the October attack, in which at least four Nigerien soldiers were also killed, some members of Congress said they were aware of U.S. operations in Niger, but others – including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), and Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-New York) – said they did not know U.S. troops were on the ground in Niger. Continuer à lire … « Niger – Questions Linger Over US Role in Fighting Terrorism in Sahel »
On October 4 an American Special Forces team was ambushed by a contingent of Islamic State affiliated fighters in Niger. Four American soldiers were killed and two wounded. The team of 12 soldiers was returning from a meeting with community leaders when it ran into a group of up to 50 terrorists.
The incident caused a furore in the US, sparking recollection of 1993’s “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia that saw 18 American soldiers killed. Questions were raised about how it was that four US soldiers died, why one of the bodies was retrieved only 48 hours after the ambush, and why US troops were in Niger in the first place. US President Donald Trump’s failure to address the matter with the necessary transparency and sensitivity fuelled the agitation. Continuer à lire … « Niger: a reminder of why the US military’s presence Africa needs constant scrutiny »
Since the deadly ambush of four U.S. soldiers in Niger, questions have swirled about the extent and nature of US military involvement there. What were U.S. soldiers doing there, and why? Is the United States at war in Niger? And what rules govern U.S. operations there?.
At the same time, the Pentagon has been indicating it intends to expand its use of lethal force in Africa. And the New York Times reported Saturday that Trump has signed new rules loosening previous restrictions on the use of drones and commando raids outside war zones. (Already, some 6,000 troops are engaged on the continent.) But under what authority?. Continuer à lire … « Complying with international law with troops in Africa »
Military Times – The two-star chief of staff for U.S. Africa Command has been assigned to lead the Army’s official investigation into the Niger ambush that led to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers earlier this month, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, Jr. will lead the 15-6, as the Army’s investigation is commonly known, to answer why the 12-person U.S. special forces team and 30 Nigerien partnered forces ended up in an hours-long firefight with what the Pentagon suspects were Islamic State-affiliated militants. Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Sgt. La David Johnson died in the attack.
Dunford would not say whether the mission ultimately diverted from its original tasking and pursued an Islamic State target. He said as part of his review into the attack, he requested the original order that sent the troops on their Oct. 3 overnight mission. The unit was ambushed during their return to base the morning of Oct. 4.
“I read the original document that set that patrol out, and it was a patrol to go out and identify information about the local area. It was not targeted or focused on any specific Islamic State leader or location. Because that would have made the mission, enemy contact, more likely. The estimate at the time was enemy contact was not likely,” Dunford said to reporters traveling with him.
“What I don’t know, and what the investigation will find out is, ‘Did they have a change of mission at any given point? If so, how did they get that change of mission? Who approved that change of mission? What was that mission?’ Those are all things that I am seeing bits and pieces of, but honestly I wouldn’t say any of it is fact until the investigation is complete.”
Dunford said a normal line of duty investigation takes about three to four weeks, but he expected this would take longer, given the complexity of interviewing the Nigerien, French and U.S. forces and determining all of the facts on the ground.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the incident.