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Three U.S. service members killed in Niger: Two more wounded

Three U.S. service members and a service member from a partner nation were killed in southwestern Niger yesterday, U.S. Africa Command officials said.

Two other U.S. service members were injured and were evacuated in stable condition to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, Africom officials said in a statement.

The U.S. service members were providing advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counterterror operations about 125 miles north of Niamey, officials said, adding that their names are being withheld during the next-of-kin notification process.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the fallen service members," the Africom statement said. "U.S. forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerian armed forces in their efforts to counter violent extremist organizations in the region."

The U.S. military has been working for years with the nations of West Africa to build up their defense capabilities in the face of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb

“I think clearly there's risk for our forces in Niger.

“Anytime we deploy full forces globally, we will look very hard at the enablers that need to be in place in order to provide security for them. And that ranges from the ability to pull them out if they are injured, to the ability to reinforce them at the point of a fight if they … need reinforcement. We look at all those things, and evaluate on a continual basis.

“I would not, at this time, draw any particular conclusion from the incident that happened yesterday [in Niger]. I think that it does reflect the fact, though, that we're having enormous success against the core, the very heart of this movement. But we're going to be operating across the service of the entire globe, for quite a while to complete these operations. This is simply a manifestation of that," said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff.

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