WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — Weeks after the deadly ambush that cost four American soldiers their lives in Niger, the West African country is asking the U.S. to start using armed drones against jihadist groups in the region.
The village of Tongo Tongo on the treacherous border between Niger and Mali is so remote you can’t even find a road that leads to it on a map.
That is where Nigerian and American troops stopped to get water before they were ambushed.
As they were leaving, a village elder noticed a chilling sight as a few men suddenly appeared on motorbikes, the preferred mode of transport for ISIS fighters.
“It was just a few terrorists,” he said. “We think if it’s just a few terrorists, the soldiers can kill them easily, but we didn’t know there were so many more of them waiting nearby.”
It was a trap.
Once the ISIS fighters had lured the troops away from the village, the numbers multiplied and suddenly they were under attack.
The elder said there were about 20 motorbikes with two men on each, armed with either AK-47s or RPGs and at least ten vehicles, who descended on the troops. Terrified, he hid in his home throughout the fighting, which lasted well over two hours.
All that’s left now are the fragmented remnants of a battleground, the burned out shell of a small, one-roomed school, blood stained bushes, smoke grenades and empty boxes of ammunition.
According to the village elder, terrorists often cross over the border to launch small attacks, however, he had never seen anything like the battle that raged in Tongo Tongo.