The Islamic State just released a video that allegedly shows three US soldiers being attacked in Niger. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is still investigating the incident and determining if there are enough resources to carry out missions in areas where militants are operating. With one of the soldiers at the wheel, they ran alongside, attempting to escape the kill zone. Although a small number of U.S forces have been in Niger for years, most Americans had no idea that the USA military is operating there, or why.
A joint Niger-U.S. patrol was attacked near the village of Tongo Tongo in Niger on October 4 a year ago while on a mission to search for a particular IS member.
The investigation finds no single point of failure leading to the attack, which occurred after the soldiers learned Chefou had left the area, checked his last known location and started for home.
USA Today reported the video was released over an ISIS messenger outlet and part of the nine-minute video seems to be footage from at least one of the soldier's helmet cameras. La David T. Johnson and was the largest loss of American troops in combat in Africa since 1993.
It is not clear why the release of the video - via an is outlet on messaging app telegram - was delayed until now.
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A short time later, the soldier wearing the helmet cam falls. Then, the footage shows the jihadists surrounding him and shooting at point-blank range.
According to reports, the military investigation into the Niger attack concludes the team did not get required senior command approval for their risky mission to capture a high-level Islamic State militant.
The Defense Department "is aware of alleged photos and ISIS propaganda video from the October 4, 2017 terrorist attack in Niger". The results are expected to be released this month. The clip opens with footage of the militants riding on the back of trucks bearing the flag of ISIS and heading toward what may have been the site of the ambush.
"Knowing that they were asked to try to complete and execute this type of mission with that type of equipment, I just - I could not believe it", said Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. U.S. forces in Niger are not authorized to enter situations where enemy engagement is likely and they would have needed senior command approval to do so from Special Operations Command in either Chad or AFRICOM's leadership in Germany.
One reason why the general public was caught off guard is the US government has not made clear that USA mission in Niger and other African countries involves combat operations, said Bill Roggio, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington.