18 Daesh fighters killed in joint operation with US in Niger

Nigerien soldiers in Diffa city. Niger is one of a number of poor, fragile countries in the Sahel region that have been hit by an extremist revolt. (Reuters)
Updated 20 June 2019
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18 Daesh fighters killed in joint operation with US in Niger

  • The June 8-18 operation took place in the northern border region of Tongo Tongo targeting a gang of Daesh terrorists implicated in an ambush on May 14, in which 28 Nigerien soldiers were killed
  • In October 2017, Daesh claimed responsibility for a raid which killed four US soldiers and five Nigerien troops in the same region

NIAMEY: Eighteen members of Daesh in the Greater Sahara were killed in a joint operation by US, French and Niger troops near Niger’s border with Mali, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
The June 8-18 operation took place in the northern border region of Tongo Tongo “targeting a gang of Daesh terrorists implicated in an ambush on May 14,” in which 28 Nigerien soldiers were killed, it said.
“The toll on the enemy side is: 18 terrorists neutralized, five terrorists, of whom three are Nigerien, taken prisoner.”
There were “no human or material losses” during the operation, which was codenamed ACONIT, it said.
“Important materiel was recovered including equipment belonging to the Niger armed forces which were taken by the attackers after the ambush,” the statement said.
In October 2017, Daesh claimed responsibility for a raid which killed four US soldiers and five Nigerien troops in the same region, a mere 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Malian border.
That ambush claimed the largest number of American lives in combat anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa since the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia in 1993
On June 8, a US army vehicle hit a land mine near the town of Ouallam, about 100 kilometers north of the capital Niamey, but there were no casualties.
The area is near a major training camp where Nigerien soldiers are trained to serve in a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
Late Tuesday, gunmen attacked a police station on the northern edge of the Niger capital Niamey, killing two policemen.
Niger is one of a number of poor, fragile countries in the Sahel region that have been hit by an extremist revolt.
The United States has a big base for drones in the northern city of Agadez and Niger recently gave the Americans permission to arm their drones.
The French also have a military base near Niamey airport and another at Madama in the north.
Various insurgent groups operate in the country’s west and north, and Nigeria’s Boko Haram is present in its southeast.
The country is part of the so-called G5 Sahel group set up to manage a coordinated response to the extremist insurgency.


Moon back in NASA’s court 50 years after 1st lunar landing

Updated 19 min 31 sec ago
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Moon back in NASA’s court 50 years after 1st lunar landing

  • The White House wants US astronauts on the moon by 2024, a scant five years from now

CAPE CANAVERAL: The moon is back in NASA’s court 50 years after humanity’s first lunar footsteps.
The White House wants US astronauts on the moon by 2024, a scant five years from now. The moon will serve as a critical proving ground for the real prize of sending astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.
The billionaires’ space club including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk is on board.
But Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins prefers a beeline to Mars. Buzz Aldrin, too, is a longtime Mars backer.
NASA’s Project Artemis aims for a landing on the moon’s south pole. The space agency says astronauts on the next moon landing will spend a longer time on the lunar surface unlike the Apollo missions.