12 February 2018

West Africa: Report: Military Probe Calls for Fewer Ground Missions in West Africa After Niger Ambush

Photo: RFI
G5 Sahel

The New York Times is reporting that a draft military investigation into the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Niger last year calls for the Pentagon to reduce the number of ground missions in West Africa.

Military officials with knowledge of the findings told the newspaper the investigation also concludes that commanders in the field should have less authority to send troops on potentially high-risk patrols. Higher-level commanders will now need to approve certain missions that carry a higher risk.

No drawdown in Libya, Somalia

The officials say U.S. troops will continue to carry out joint patrols with local military forces, but say military officials will more thoroughly vet such missions, according to the paper. The officials said missions would not be scaled back in Libya or Somalia, where U.S. troops have been working with local forces to fight Islamic State and al-Shabab militants.

The draft investigation findings have not yet been released to the public.

The Times said the military investigation describes a string of errors that led to the deaths of the Americans, including bad decision-making and a breakdown in communication.

October ambush in Niger

Pentagon and Nigerien defense officials said Islamic State fighters ambushed their forces Oct. 4, killing four American soldiers, four Nigerien soldiers and a Nigerien interpreter.

In the attack, a group of 12 members of a U.S. Special Operations Task Force had accompanied 30 Nigerian forces on a reconnaissance mission from the capital city of Niamey to an area near Tongo Tongo.

Members of the team had just completed a meeting with local leaders and were walking back to their vehicles when they were attacked, U.S. officials told VOA.

The soldiers said the meeting ran late, and some suspected the villagers were intentionally delaying their departure, one of the officials said.

About 1,300 U.S. military personnel work in the Lake Chad Basin — Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad — to help strengthen local militaries and counter Boko Haram, al-Qaida, IS and other extremist groups.

West Africa

Govt Tasks Herbal Medicine Practitioners on Cure for Cancer

Herbal and alternative medicine practitioners in the country have been encouraged to work towards finding a cure for… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.