A Malian pleaded guilty on Thursday in New York, 15 years after the murder of a US diplomat outside a restaurant in Niger in December 2000.
Two men armed with a pistol and a Kalashnikov rifle shot William Bultemeier, 51, in the chest as he was about to enter his car outside the La Cloche restaurant and bar in Niger capital Niamey, early morning of December 23, 2000.
Mr. Bultemeier was in West Africa for only five months to restore the office of the military attache of the US Department of Defense. He was supposed to go home in North Carolina on the day he was killed.
Alhassane Ould Mohamed, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder, before Judge William Kuntz in Brooklyn federal court. His sentencing is set for April 26 and risks getting 25 years in prison.
William Bultemeier, a Pentagon official who had been assigned to the US Embassy, had just left the restaurant with five other American colleagues when he was killed. After asking the keys to his car, Alhassane Ould Mohamed and an accomplice shot him.
They also shot one of his colleagues, Sergeant Christopher McNeely, who survived. The two attackers then fled with the diplomatic car.
The Pentagon at the time said it was a criminal incident, without political motivation.
Niger launched a massive manhunt and arrested Mohamed, also accused of murdering four Saudis on the border between Niger and Mali in 2009. But he escaped from prison in June 2013 after an operation attributed to extremists linked to al-Qaeda.
He was again arrested by French forces in northern Mali in November 2013, and extradited by Mali to the United States in March 2014.