By Shawn Snow, Military Times–

A joint American and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger, officials at U.S. Africa Command confirmed Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported that three U.S. Army special operations commandos were killed Wednesday and two others were wounded in the attack. Five soldiers from the African nation were also killed, according to Reuters.

The officials told the AP that the two wounded were taken to Niamey, the capital, and are in stable condition. The officials were not authorized to discuss the incident publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The officials said the commandos, who were Green Berets, were likely attacked by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militants.

The AP also reported that President Donald Trump was notified about the attack Wednesday night as he flew aboard Air Force One from Las Vegas to Washington. Trump was in Las Vegas meeting with victims of Sunday night’s shooting massacre, along with first responders and doctors.

The details and aftermath of the attack are still unknown, however a French news outlet reportedearlier in the day that several American and Nigerien troops were killed in an ambush near the Mali border. U.S. officials could not confirm that report Wednesday evening.

“U.S. forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces, including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts, in their efforts to target violent extremist organizations in the region,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, told Military Times.

A small contingent of U.S. special operations troops are also operating in neighboring Mali, according to Africa Command.

Their task is to share information and intelligence with U.S. partners on the ground to combat al Qaida in the Maghreb, or AQIM, and its offshoots, officials at AFRICOM have previously told Military Times.

While AQIM’s numbers are assessed to number around 1,000, the group boasts a large interconnected network of terrorist allies to include Jamaat Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimin, or JNIM, a group that formed last March out of Ansar al Din.

Mali’s security situation has deteriorated since the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, and Libya’s once massive armories and heavy weapons have flooded across Mali’s border.

Those weapons have ended up in the hands of Islamist insurgencies such as AQIM and JNIM, but also Tuareg separatists fighting under the banner of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.

The border area between Mali and Niger also has been a hotbed of insurgent activity, where weapons, terrorists, and insurgents have flowed freely. Even factions of Somalia’s al Shabab are known to operate in the region.

The terror group Boko Haram is also known to operate in parts of Niger.

This year has been one of the deadliest years of fighting in Mali in over a decade.

This story is breaking, and officials at AFRICOM are still working to confirm details of the incident. This story will be updated.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.