The deadly ambush that killed four Army Special Forces personnel in Niger on Oct. 4, and the resulting rescue operation, were clouded by misinformation and poor planning, according to two extensive new reports.
One report suggests that one of the American KIAs, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, remained alive in captivity for hours while DoD officials flailed in the fog of war. And though the dueling reports paint a damning picture of negligence and underwhelming responses by U.S. defense officials, they also highlight a growing challenge on the horizon for the global war on terror in Africa.
On Oct. 5, U.S. Africa Command announced that four Army soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, including two Green Berets, were killed while “providing advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counter-terror operations” 200 kilometers north of the capital city of Niamey, on the Niger-Mali border. But according to a new report from BuzzFeed News, the ambush was the product of “reckless behavior” during a “poorly executed” surveillance and reconnaissance mission against senior commanders of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, in which soldiers “rushed into a hornet’s nest of militants with insufficient intelligence.”