Officials in the United States confirm that three U.S. service members killed Wednesday in Niger were members of a U.S. Army Special Forces unit involved in counterterrorism operations.
“Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations, confirmed for The Washington Post that those involved were assigned to an elite Special Forces unit,” the newspaper said Thursday.
The U.S. Africa Command issued an updated statement confirming the three American deaths and one from an unidentified “partner nation.”
They 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,” the statement said. “Additionally, two U.S. service members were injured and evacuated in stable condition to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.”
U.S. officials did not release any additional details other than a description of the military’s role in Niger, which they said is to provide training and security assistance to the counterterrorism efforts.
All five Americans were members of the Green Berets who came under hostile fire near Tongo Tongo in the first such incident known to have caused U.S. fatalities. No details have been released about any Islamic extremist group believed to be behind the attack, although Radio France International initially reported that the attackers came from the Malian side of the border.
RFI also identified the “partner nation” casualty as Nigerien, but as yet there has been no official confirmation of the nationality of the operation partners. U.S. Special Forces are reported to also be working with French and United Nations troops in the region.
Image: US Army Africa