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NIAMEY, NIGER (CBSMiami) — Investigators in Niger are working to find the organizers of an attack that killed four American soldiers.

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One issue is why the Army unit was operating in a region beyond the government’s control.

A Nigerien soldier who was stationed at the base nearest to the site of the ambush recently spoke out about it.

He claims he knew the four Americans who were killed, personally, and that they had trained him in counter-terrorism tactics and he recalled cracking military jokes with them despite the language barrier.

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He believes the ambushed troops were deliberately delayed in the village of Tonga Tonga in a region known as Tillaberi.

The Nigerien government has absolutely no control in the area. They’re investigating the suspicion that some of the villagers may have been complicit in this attack.

It is one of the most remote and chaotic war zones in the world. There are over a dozen extremist groups operating along the border between Mali and Niger.

This particular attack was coordinated by ISIS in the Greater Sahel – a group led by Abu Walid Al Zaharwoui – which has been actively recruiting in the region.

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The presence of American troops in the area would have drawn immediate attention – which begs the question why they went into such a dangerous location with very little back up.