Niger Attack

Niger+Attack

Quinn Wilcox, News Editor

On Oct 4, 2017, four U.S. soldiers were killed during an operation in Niger.  There has been a lot of discrepancy and confusion regarding the exact details of the attack.  

Reports have said that there were between 8 to 12 U.S. troops accompanying 30 to 40 Nigerien troops on a mission near Tongo Tongo in Niger.  The group of Nigerien and U.S. troops were on a mission in a village near Tongo Tongo and were reportedly attacked on their way back from the village. Around 50 armed militants in unarmored trucks ambushed the U.S. and Nigerien troops.  The militants were reported to have been armed with heavy machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

 A senior U.S. defense official said the U.S. military believes somebody in the village could have notified the militants to coordinate the attack. U.S. intelligence believes that ISIS was behind the ambush.  

U.S. soldiers Sgt.La David Johnson, 25; Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35; Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29; and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, were killed in the attack.  12 Nigerien soldiers were killed in the attack as well.

U.S. troops have been in Niger since the early 2000s.  In response to 9/11, the U.S. began preventative actions in countries that had never spawned a terrorist attack against the U.S.  A joint special operations task force was established in Niger in 2008. In 2011, French and U.S. militaries began a counterterrorism initiative in the country.  During the last five years, U.S. troops have been aiding Nigerian troops in conflicts with the Greater Sahara regional division of ISIS as well as the Islamic extremist group and ISIS affiliate Boko Haram.

President Trump spoke for the first time about the attack on Oct 16. “I felt very, very badly about that. I always feel badly. It is the toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed,” Trump said at a press conference on Oct 16.