Man who uncovered video of Special Forces in Niger opens up about US operations in Africa

A U.S. Special Forces team commander approaches the podium to address the participants of Flintlock 2017 during opening ceremonies in Diffa, Niger, Feb. 27, 2017. Flintlock is a Special Operations Forces exercise geared toward building interoperability among African and western nations. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zayid Ballesteros)

The Mauritanian journalist who first obtained footage of the infamous Niger ambush claims that US forces have only made things worse in Africa by establishing a military presence there.

Agence Nouakchott d’information author Mohammed Mahmoud Abu al-Maali told American news journal Newsweek that the footage -which depicted a small contingent of US Special Forces soldiers being overrun in October of 2017- reveals a growing, albeit quiet American military presence in Africa that becomes more involved by the day.

“The American military presence was supposed to be limited to the training and rehabilitation of the armies of the region. But the exposure of American forces to the ambush during the month of October in the town of Tongo Tongo on the border between Mali and Niger, while carrying out the elements of a combat mission, revealed that the U.S. presence in the region has become part of the war there, as did the presence of dozens of American drones in Niger,” Maali told Newsweek.

The video, which was ultimately given a mild censorship makeover and released en-masse by special operations forces news site SOFREP, has since become both a valuable propaganda tool for the enemy and a grueling reminder to Americans that US military troops are in constant danger around the world.

Following massive public outrage in the aftermath of the video’s release, Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the US is essentially taking an “advise and assist” approach to tackle the issues in Africa, with more emphasis on “advise” than “assist.”

“Our mission statement deliberately highlights the importance of ‘with partners,'” Waldhauser said. “In reality, very few, if any, of the challenges on the African continent, can be resolved through the use of military force.”

“AFRICOM’s first strategic tenet underscores that our military activities are designed to support and enable U.S. diplomatic and development efforts,” he added. “We can create time and space for governments to establish effective and accountable governance while fostering conditions for economies to develop.”

ISIS-related groups continue to be on the rise in Africa, particularly gaining traction in the sub-Saharan regions.

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