CALABAR, Nigeria—When Daouda Chikoto lived in Tongo Tongo in southwestern Niger, a grenade fired from an unknown location fell on a compound in the village, where children were playing on a Tuesday afternoon in September 2016. As he recalls, six were killed, and without knowing where the grenade came from the locals blamed it on the Americans.
The children were slaughtered just at the moment media reported that the United States was building a $100 million drone base in central Niger. Never mind that the reports said specifically the drones were for surveillance, Tongo Tongo villagers understood whatever they heard to mean that the U.S. had already established a drone station and was going to target villages close to Mali. After the September incident they concluded that America had targeted them.