Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne / U.S. Air Force over AP
A Pentagon report has found that last October Islamist extremists raided and killed four US soldiers in Niger after a series of failures had exposed and vulnerable Americans in a remote corner of the African nation
report to the congress and officers have begun to inform the families of the killed soldiers. The report was not publicly released, but an official who saw him described it to NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.
The mission began on October 3, when 12 Americans, led by Green Berets, teamed up with a larger force. Nigrian troops on a routine patrol in the southwest of the country near the border with Mali
The Americans are since 2013 in Niger, to train, advise and support the Nigerien military in the fight against extremists in connection with the Islamic State. Americans should not take part in the fight unless they come under fire.
On the mission, the Americans and the Nigerien troops met with village leaders.
The troops spent the night, and instead of returning to their base the next day, they received a new mission. They were called to seek intelligence at a place where a militant leader had fled.
According to the official who saw the report, a junior officer signed this new mission, and senior officers were not held (19659008) The US team had not expected contact with the militants and did not have adequate planning, Training or heavy firepower.
Survived by 50 Extremists
But the US and Niger forces were ambushed and overwhelmed by about 50 fighters during a two-hour firefight in the village of Tongo Tongo.
The four Americans killed were Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, associate Sgt. Dustin Wright, associates Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Sgt. La David Johnson. Two more Americans were injured and five Nigerien soldiers were killed.
The report says the soldiers fought bravely. There was a helicopter video showing some of the soldiers escorting wounded comrades behind a SUV.
The report does not blame and does not require punishment. But it is said that there have been failures at several levels and demands that they be addressed by the Army and the Special Operations Command.
President Barack Obama sent US troops to Niger five years ago, and around 800 are believed to be in the country. The Americans build a base for drones, but have no large airfield for manned aircraft that could launch a rescue mission.
Niger and other African countries want US education and expertise to deal with security threats, but they do not want a large, visible American presence.
Until the American dead in Niger, the US military presence received little attention there.
The New York Times reported that on December 6, two months after the October raid, another group of Green Berets and Nigerien forces killed 11 fighters in a shootout. The US military did not announce the fighting at the time. But the Times reported it on March 14, calling it one of ten previously unknown clashes in West Africa since 2015.