Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has condemned the attack by Mali-based extremists in the country’s west that killed several Niger soldiers and three U.S. Army special operations commandos.
Issoufou said Thursday that Niger is once again the target of Islamic extremist attacks. He did not say how many Niger soldiers were killed, but said there were a number of victims.
U.S. officials said two U.S. Army special operations commandos were also wounded when they came under fire in southwest Niger late Wednesday while on a joint patrol near the Mali border.
The U.S. forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces in their fight against violent extremists.
The officials said the two wounded were taken to Niamey, the capital, and are in stable condition. The officials were not authorized to discuss the incident publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
The officials said the commandos, who were Green Berets, were likely attacked by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militants.
In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said the forces were with a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol north of Niamey, near the Mali border, when they came under hostile fire.
Africa Command said the U.S. forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces in their efforts against violent extremists.
The White House said President Donald Trump was notified about the attack Wednesday night as he flew aboard Air Force One from Las Vegas to Washington.