Letter to the Editor: U.S. presence in Niger is necessary

Dear Editor: 

This is in response to Peter Certo’s column entitled “A U.S. Soldier Died in Niger. What are we doing there?” (The Downey Patriot, 10/26/17)

First off-there were four U.S. soldiers that were killed in Niger, not one.

Second, those men were Green Berets, who specialize in force enhancement in an unconventional warfare environment. In other words, they were there to train the people of Niger to protect themselves the next time Boko Haram, ISIS or Al Qeida comes to loot their villages, kill their men and enslave their women. 

Third, our involvement in Niger did not come out of thin air. U.S. special forces arrived in Niger in January 2013 on the orders of President Obama with the intention of conducting unmanned reconnaissance missions over Mali and to support counter-insurgency efforts of our other partners in the region. This was done in conjunction with French. 

Lastly, I wonder if Mr. Certo recalls the night of April 14-15, 2014, when Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in nearby Chibok, Nigeria. Many of the girls would become sex slaves or “brides” for the men of Boko Haram

Our presence in Niger and the other countries in Central Africa are worthy considering our limited level of involvement and the potential threats that exist. 

Or we could do what Mr. Certo would probably suggest if another Chibok-like atrocity were to occur: express outrage, blame it on the effects of post colonialism and seek a condemnation of the event through the United Nations. Yep, that will sure show them.

Kevin Merrick
Downey