The deaths of four US soldiers in Niger in 2017 provoked a major political scandal in Washington because of the scant information most Americans have given about US military operations on the continent.
In March, Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan told the House Armed Services Committee he was not satisfied with the review by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis of the Tongo Tongo ambush of October 2017, which left four American soldiers and five Nigerian soldiers dead ambushed by a militia during a raid on a warlord's compound.
Mattis himself expressed dissatisfaction with the investigation, which saw subaltern officers bear the burden of responsibility, while the superiors escaped the reprimand.
The Tongo Tongo ambush, the most violent action by American troops in Africa since the disaster of? Black Hawk Down? in Somalia in 1993, sparked protests in the United States, especially after Americans learned that troops stationed in Niger were not given imminent danger because the country was not considered a zone of imminent danger.
Also in March, Africom chief of staff Thomas Waldhauser promised that his command had made "changes since the Niger incident" related to "tactical actions and procedures in the field and minimum requirements of force."
The US military has recently engaged or continues to carry out 36 operations in 19 African countries.
The operations, ranging from Mauritania and Senegal in West Africa to Somalia and Djibouti in the east, and Libya and Tunisia in the north to Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the south, include multiple missions in countries where the US government does not officially recognize it as a combat zone, but where US troops are engaged in combat and risk injury or death.
US military personnel carried out six missions in Somalia, six missions in Niger, four missions in Libya and Kenya, three in Cameroon and Chad, two in the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania and South Sudan, and one. each in Burkina Faso, DRC, Gabon, Ghana, Senegal, the Seychelles, Tunisia and Uganda.
Mission types include Joint Special Operations Command's psychological operations, electronic surveillance, missions to support the US drone war program, maritime security and anti-piracy operations, & # 39; advisory & for local peacekeepers, rescue operations, special operations support, attacks on high-value terrorist targets and, more prominently, missions that are carried out by US special forces units using elite host nation units to combat terrorism, with local forces receiving extensive training and operating using US equipment.
The listed operations began in 2010, with many of them continuing to the present.
But has the situation changed for the better? In most cases, no! It just keeps deteriorating. Especially in countries where the United States interferes.