Pentagon's top officer reveals new info on Niger ambush

ANI | Updated: Oct 24, 2017 05:28 IST

New York [USA], October 24 (ANI): Chairman of U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, on Monday held a briefing on the military operation in Niger that left four American soldiers dead earlier this month, as according to him, "we owe the families and American people transparency".

During the Pentagon briefing, General Dunford clarified that the United States troops requested for additional support about an hour after the firefight began on October 4 that killed four US and five Nigerien soldiers and wounded two Americans.

According to General Joseph Dunford, who provided a timeline of the attack during the briefing, said that the US Troops were ambushed by 50 ISIS fighters, while they were on their way back to the operating base.

"It's important to note when they didn't ask for support for that first hour, my judgment would be that that unit thought they could handle the situation without additional support," General Dunford said. "And so well we'll find out in the investigation exactly why it took an hour for them to call."

He said there is no indication that the US troops were operating outside their orders at the time of the ambush.

"I don't have any indication right now to believe or to know that they did anything other than operate within the orders that they were given," Dunford said. "That's what the investigation's all about. So I think anyone that speculates about what special operations forces did or didn't do is doing exactly that, they're speculating."

General Dunford further said the military will investigate if the planned reconnaissance mission was changed, "It was planned as a reconnaissance mission. What happened after they began to execute, in other words, did the mission change? That is one of the questions that's being asked. It's a fair question but I can't tell you definitively the answer to that question. But, yes, we've seen the reports, we've seen the speculation."

According to reports, one US soldier, Sgt. La David Johnson, was separated from his 12-member team as it was ambushed by 50 ISIS fighters, and his body was recovered 48 hours later, nearly a mile away from the central scene of the ambush in Niger.

Speaking on the same, General Dunford said that he could not definitely confirm reports that Johnson was found nearly a mile away, but that "those details would come to light as part of the investigation". (ANI)

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