Nigerien troop, 3 US special forces killed in ambush near Mali border

A Nigerian service member and three U.S. Army special forces were killed on Wednesday after they were ambushed while on patrol, U.S. Africa Command said.

“On Oct. 4, three (3) U.S. service members and one partner nation member were killed while the U.S. was providing advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counter-terror operations, approximately 200 km north of Niamey, in southwest Niger,” Africa Command said in a statement.

Two other U.S. service members were injured and evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where they were in stable condition.

Namatta Abubacar, an official from Niger’s Tillaberi region told Reuters news agency that five Nigerien soldiers were killed.

The New York Times reported unnamed American military officials as saying that three Army Green Berets were killed in the attack, and two others were wounded. The Times said the attack took place 120 miles north of Niger’s capital Niamey, near the border with Mali.

CNN reported unnamed US administration officials as saying that three had died, and that the two injured were in a stable condition and were evacuated to Niamey.

It is not known who carried out the attack, but militants from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali have carried out cross-border raids in Niger in the past.

Update October 6

The U.S. Department of Defense identified the three Green Berets killed as Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia.

All soldiers were assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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