Socialist Worker

Lies unravel about US military raid in Niger

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2578

The chain of events never seemed likely

The chain of events never seemed likely (Pic: Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper)

The lies peddled by the United States political and military elite about the deaths of soldiers in West Africa are falling apart. Socialist Worker’s recent article questioning the official account about what happened in Niger has been proven correct.

The official story was that on 3 October, 12 members of the US Special Operations Task Force accompanied 30 Nigerian forces on a civil-military reconnaissance mission to an area near the village of Tongo Tongo. “Officials expected the chances of meeting an enemy were slight,” said the US military.

The next day, 4 October, to their great surprise, they were attacked by Islamist forces.

That chain of events never seemed likely.

The United Nations estimates that armed groups have carried out at least 46 attacks in the region surrounding Tongo Tongo, since early last year. Gunmen on motorcycles and pickup trucks killed 13 more Nigerien soldiers on Saturday in nearby Ayorou.

As Socialist Worker said on Tuesday, “It’s far more likely that the US troops were fighting in the frontline of an undeclared aggressive mission—contrary to their declared role.”


Within hours NBC News said that “multiple U.S. officials”had confirmed that the “Special Forces unit that came under attack in Niger earlier this month had been pursuing a senior militant”. It was on an assassination raid.

NBC added that the “mission was carried out under the broader auspices of Operation Juniper Shield, a program initiated under the Obama administration and reauthorized under the Trump administration”.

Juniper Shield is “intended to ‘disrupt or neutralise terror organizations affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State operating across North and West Africa, primarily through the killing or capturing of members of its senior and intermediate leadership.”

Furthermore the Special Forces unit ambushed on 4 October, had recently replaced the 10th Special Forces Group which had completed more than 20 similar missions in support of Juniper Shield with its Nigerien partners before its departure.

The US is carrying out an undeclared war in Niger.

We now know there are 800 US troops in Niger. In addition France, which ruled Niger as a colony until 1960, has 4,000 troops and a permanent air base in the capital, Niamey.

The scale of the US involvement apparently shocked leading members of the US Congress, who claimed not to know about the numbers involved.

US troops havebeen in Niger periodically for more than ten years, and permanently for four years.

It’s part of a growing US involvement in Africa designed to secure strategic and trade interests and keep out Chinese influence.

Most of the US forces in Niger are developing a second drone base in Niger’s northern desert.

Others run a surveillance drone mission from Niamey. Around 100 are in special forces units “advising and assisting Niger’s military”.

Elsewhere in West Africa there are an additional 300 US military personnel in Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

The US intervention is shrouded in mystery because the truth cannot be said. It is an imperialist war carried out in the interests of US power and profit.And like all such interventions it should end now.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.