In the early morning hours of 6 December 2017 militants believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State in West Africa attacked a patrol of US Army Special Forces and Nigerien soldiers near Diffa, in the Lake Chad Basin Region in Niger.[1] During the ensuing firefight, no Nigerien or American personal were killed or wounded while 11 militants including two wearing suicide vests died, an enemy weapons cache was also destroyed by the joint US/Nigerien force a United States Africa Command statement said.[2][3] The firefight was not planned as the purpose of the mission was aimed at setting "The conditions for future partner-led operations against violent extremist organizations in the region" the statement added.[4]

December 2017 Diffa Region clash
Part of the Boko Haram insurgency and Operation Juniper Shield
Date6 December 2017
Location
Result Nigerien and American victory
Belligerents
 Niger
 United States Army Special Forces
 France
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL-West Africa
Casualties and losses
None

11 killed

  • 2 suicide bombers
  • 1 weapons cache destroyed
US and Nigerian soldiers training together in Diffa, on 28 February 2017.

The attack came a little over two months after an ambush in the village of Tongo Tongo that left at least 30 dead including four Americans.[5] The December firefight was first learned of after a declassified report made for Congress was obtained and reported by The New York Times.[6] The firefight is just one of 10 other incidents involving American personal in Niger.[7] During these previous firefights excluding the ambush that happened two months earlier only a few enemy combatants died while no Americans or Nigeriens were hurt.

This event and most prominently the October ambush led to security changes for US forces operating in the region such as armored vehicles instead of lightly armored SUV's, the arming of drones, and taking a closer look at when US forces conduct operations with local troops.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Niger: l'armée américaine confirme un accrochage avec des jihadistes en décembre". Radio France International (in French). 16 March 2017.
  2. ^ Choi, David. "US Special Forces troops killed 11 ISIS fighters in an undisclosed firefight in Niger". Business Insider.
  3. ^ "US, Nigerien troops kill 11 ISIS militants in previously undisclosed mission". Stars and Stripes.
  4. ^ Browne, Ryan. "US military reveals new firefight in Niger". CNN.
  5. ^ Callimachi, Rukmini; Cooper, Helene; Schmitt, Eric; Blinder, Alan; Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (17 February 2018). "'An Endless War': Why 4 U.S. Soldiers Died in a Remote African Desert" – via NYTimes.com.
  6. ^ "U.S. Kept Silent About Its Role in Another Firefight in Niger". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Murphy, Mike. "U.S. troops involved in at least 10 undisclosed firefights in West Africa: report". MarketWatch.
  8. ^ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-military-boosts-american-troops-security-africa-after-niger-ambush-africom/