Rebels say vehicle is from Niger ambush
BAMAKO, Mali — A Tuareg rebel leader said Tuesday that members of his group have recovered an American vehicle that was stolen in the ambush in Niger in which four U.S. servicemen were killed in October.
The vehicle taken during the attack in Tongo Tongo, Niger, was found on the Malian side of the border in the desert, said Fahad Ag Al Mahmoud, secretary-general of the rebel group known by its French acronym GATIA.
“Our men are in the middle of digging out the vehicle to get it back in working order,” he said.
He said it was not immediately possible to send a photo to confirm they had retrieved the vehicle, because of the lack of Internet in the remote border area.
A coalition of armed Tuareg rebels has been operating against jihadi groups active in the area between Mali and Niger for several weeks.
Four U.S. soldiers and four Nigerien troops were killed Oct. 4 about 120 miles north of Niamey, Niger’s capital, when they were attacked by as many as 100 Islamic State-linked extremists traveling by vehicle and carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Two other American soldiers and eight Nigerien troops were wounded.
A U.S. military investigation into the Niger attack concluded that the team didn’t get required senior command approval for a risky mission to capture a high-level Islamic State militant, though it did not point to that failure as a cause of the deadly ambush, several U.S. officials familiar with the report said.