Outnumbered and outgunned, US troops got separated in Niger ambush

Outnumbered and lightly armed, a Green Beret-led team that was ambushed by militants in Niger earlier this month became separated during the firefight, US officials and a Nigerien soldier told CNN Thursday.

The squad was traveling with 30 Nigerien soldiers when they were attacked by approximately 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters armed with rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and heavy machine guns, according to US military officials.

During the subsequent gun battle, which lasted for hours, four US soldiers were killed and two were wounded. Five Nigerien soldiers were also killed. US-Nigerien forces managed to kill 20 militants during the fight on October 4.

When the unit of the Nigerien soldier who spoke to CNN arrived on the scene, the surviving US and Nigerien troops were standing back to back, trying to cover all sides in a defensive position. The brush around them was smoldering, the result of fires lit by militants to prevent aircraft from coming to their rescue.

"I admired their bravery, they were ready to fight until the end," said the soldier, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

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