In a televised Pentagon briefing, the commander of U.S. Africa Command laid out the bottom line for the October Niger ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers: “The responsibility is mine,” Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said.
But the mistakes that led to an outmanned and outgunned convoy of U.S. and Nigerien forces getting overrun last October were widespread, took root before the unit ever deployed, and manifested in local commanders deciding to carry out a capture or kill mission that they never had the authority to do, a 6,300-page investigation has found.
An unclassified eight-page summary was released Thursday.
“The direct cause of the enemy attack in Tongo Tongo is that the enemy achieved tactical surprise there, and our forces were outnumbered approximately three to one. So there’s a series of findings that we have identified from pre-deployment training through the relief in place,” said AFRICOM’s chief of staff, Army Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, who led the investigation.