As part of its global responsibility, the US has contingents of commandos in an advisory role in Niger. These troops advise and train the army in its combat with Islamic fighters in the country. In a recent operation, three US soldiers were killed and two injured. The action took place on the Mali-Niger border and along with the US soldiers, five Niger army soldiers were also killed. The attack has highlighted the danger of fighting Islamic militants in West Africa. CNN has reported that the two wounded troops were taken to the capital, Niamey, and later shipped to Germany for treatment.

The attack

The US Africa Command has not yet published the names of the soldiers as part of the next of kin notification process. CNN reported that operations are underway in the area to locate the attackers. US Africa Command confirmed in a statement on Thursday morning, October 5, that US forces are in Niger with the aim of training and guiding the local troops in their battle against Islamic Militants. Along with the US, the French army is also aiding the Niger force.

Fighting Islamic militancy

The attack took place about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Niger's capital, Niamey. It is a well- known fact that Islamic extremist groups, including al-Qaida, operate in the region and probably they ambushed the US-Niger army platoon.

The French entered the scene in 2013 and have over 5000 troops in Mali but the extremist strongholds in Northern Mali have not been taken over. This is Frances largest deployment in Africa. Despite the intervention of French troops that pushed the extremists from their strongholds in northern Mali, the attacks have continued.

The situation is complicated by North Nigeria based Boko Haram which has also staged several attacks in Niger near its border.

The killing of the three commandos who were Green Berets raises questions of the efficacy of the force in Africa. The commandos in all likelihood were attacked by al-Qaida.

President Donald Trump was notified about the attack Wednesday on board Airforce one when he flew to Las Vegas from Washington.

Last word

Counterinsurgency operations have been launched by the Nigerian army to help the US-French force. The Nigerian news agency Naij.com reported that troops of the Nigerian army 22 Brigade attacked terrorists on Wednesday, October 4. US Africa Command has its task cut out and will have to devise a strategy to counter the influence of Boko Haram and similar organizations.

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