A Malian man pled guilty in New York on Thursday to conspiracy to murder in the killing of a US diplomat outside a restaurant in Niger shortly before Christmas 16 years ago.
William Bultemeier, 51, was shot in the chest by two men armed with a pistol and an AK-47 as he was about to get in his car outside the La Cloche bar and restaurant in the capital Niamey in the early hours of December 23, 2000.
Bultemeier had been in West Africa for five months, under contract to re-establish the Department of Defense attache office at the Niger embassy. He had been scheduled to return home to North Carolina the day he was killed.
Alhassane Ould Mohamed, 46, on pled guilty to conspiracy to his murder before district judge William Kuntz in a US federal court in Brooklyn.
He will be sentenced on April 26 and faces 25 years in prison.
Bultemeier, a Pentagon official who had been assigned to the US embassy, left the restaurant with five other American colleagues when he was accosted.
After demanding Bultemeier`s car keys, Mohamed and an accomplice shot him. They also shot Staff Sergeant Christopher McNeely who ran to his colleague`s aid.
The two attackers escaped in the US diplomatic vehicle. Bultemeier died of his injuries. McNeely survived.
The US Defense Department said at the time that the incident appeared to be a criminal act and not politically motivated.
The Niger government launched a vast manhunt, and initially jailed Mohamed for the killing and for the murder of four Saudi citizens on the border between Niger and Mali in 2009.
But he escaped jail in a June 2013 jailbreak blamed on Al-Qaeda-linked extremists.
He was re-arrested by French forces in northern Mali in November 2013 and extradited by Mali to the United States in March 2014.