Niamey – Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said on Thursday his country had been attacked by “terrorist groups” and there had been many casualties, in comments made after a joint US-Nigerien patrol was ambushed.
“Our country has just been attacked once more by terrorist groups, an assault which sadly has resulted in a large number of casualties,” he said at a regional meeting in the capital Niamey.
On Wednesday, a US-Nigerien patrol was ambushed in southwestern Niger near the border with Mali, the Pentagon and Nigerien officials said.
Three US soldiers were killed and two were wounded, the US Africa Command said in a statement from its headquarters in Germany.
The slain soldiers were not identified, but US media reports described them as Green Beret special forces in Niger to train local forces.
There was a fourth fatality from another nation, according to the US statement, which did not give further details.
Issoufou spoke at the opening of a forum of first ladies of the West African regional group Ecowas, which was dedicated to obstetric fistula, a leading source of childbirth injuries.
He called for a minute’s silence “to the memory of our soldiers who have fallen on the field of honour” and to the memory of “all victims of terrorism.”
“Women and children pay a heavy price for terrorism, directly as innocent victims and indirectly as mothers and spouses,” Issoufou said.