Three U.S. Army Special Forces – Green Berets – soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in an ambush in southwest Niger near the Mali-Niger border on Wednesday.
They were the first American casualties to die from hostile fire since the US Africa Command deployed in Niger.
Five Nigerien soldiers were also reportedly killed in the ambush which took place around 120 miles (193km) north of the capita city of Niamey.
The two wounded troops, who are in “stable condition, had been evacuated to Niamey, and would soon be moved to Germany.
The US military has maintained a presence in the northwest African country with small groups of U.S. Special Operations Forces advising local troops as they battle two terrorist groups, the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram and al Qaeda’s North African branch, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Officials were unable to say who fired on the soldiers but AQIM and other groups affiliated with ISIS are active in the area.