Tongo-Tongo Mayor Almou Hassane, near whose village four US troops were killed earlier in October, says he believes that villagers were complicit in the ambush of those US troops, and helped lead them into a trap.
“The terrorists have never lacked accomplices among local populations,” the mayor insisted, adding that the village tribal chief has since been arrested as part of the government’s “state of emergency” in the region.
US troops were reported to have visited with tribesmen in the village before the ambush, and were chasing unidentified men on motorcycles when the attack happened. The ambush saw the US and Nigerien troops overwhelmed, in unarmored vehicles without backup. French forces were ultimately sent in to evacuate the survivors.
There is no direct evidence of complicity in the attacks, but with US officials looking to dodge blame for what happened, this would be a much better narrative for them than the alternative, which is US troops engaged in risky patrols until they got ambushed.