Attack on U.S. Soldiers in Niger

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Attack on U.S. Soldiers in Niger

By Angela Reyzelman, Sophomore Editor

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Four American soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack carried out by approximately 50 ISIS fighters. The attack occurred in Niger and was carried out on October 4, 2017. American soldiers have been stationed in the Greater Sahara ever since 2013, when they helped the French military intervene in a neighboring African country.

There are about 800 US troops stationed in Niger, although not all of them are combating terrorist groups. A majority of these troops are construction crews working to build a drone base. Others run a surveillance drone mission from Niger’s capital Niamey. The lesser component of these troops, the Arm Green Berets, are the units that were involved in the attack. Green Beret’s are skilled U.S. Army soldiers that operate in remote areas. They specialize in training foreign militaries, such as the one in Niger and generally travel in teams of 12.

There are several accounts of the events of October 4, but the prevailing one describes a team of 12 Green Beret soldiers accompanying a multitude of Nigerien soldiers to meet with locals at a village close to the Niger-Mali border. The entirety of both groups of American and Nigerien soldiers were unexpectedly ambushed by fighters from ISIS, and several were killed. Sophomore Kyla Gallipoli believes that terrorist attacks such as these are “great in number, horrible, inhumane, and need to end before the death count becomes too high.”

The term, “The Golden Hour” refers to the goal of surrounding military helicopters around the area of an attack to respond to that attack with help and aid within an hour. Unfortunately, this goal is not always met, especially in the vast continent of Africa, where there are not many responding military bases located close together. In this specific scenario, help did not arrive within the hour, unfortunately.

The four American soldiers killed in the attack were: Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, aged 35; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, aged 39; Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, aged 29; and Staff Sgt. La David Johnson. The remains of the four soldiers were returned to the U.S. as of October 7, 2017.

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