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Three US Army special operations commandos were killed and another two injured in an ambush in the West African country of Niger, multiple news reports said today. President Donald Trump has been briefed on it, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Onboard Air Force One on their way back from Las Vegas. US Africa Command so far has not confirmed the number of casualties except for saying that a joint US and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger.
According to some news reports, the joint patrol were probably attacked by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. "We are working to confirm details on the incident and will have more information as soon as we can confirm facts on the ground," the African Command said. US Forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces, including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) efforts, in their efforts to target violent extremist organisations in the region. One aspect of that is training, advising and assisting the Nigeriens in order to increase their ability to bring stability and security to their people, AFRICOM said. The deaths mark the first American casualties in a mission in which United States Special Forces have provided training and security assistance to the Nigerien armed forces, including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, said The New York Times.
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