Rebels say ve­hi­cle is from Niger am­bush

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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