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Netizen 24 AUS: General takes 'ownership' of Niger ambush that killed four

Posted by On 10:23 AM

General takes 'ownership' of Niger ambush that killed four

General takes 'ownership' of Niger ambush that killed four

The four U.S. soldiers killed in a deadly militant ambush in Niger last year were victims of command mistakes, insufficient training and ultimately a surprise attack by a well-trained and better-armed force, the Pentagon said Thursday.

An eight-page report represents a summary of the investigation, and a full report will be released in the future, said Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command. Waldhauser, at a Pentagon news conference, said changes already have been made to better prepare and protect U.S. troops across Africa.

“I take ownership of all the events connected to the ambush of 4 October,” he said. “The responsibility is mine.”

Waldhauser said he has already ordered changes. Troops will be better armed, better trained and better versed in the mission that focuses o n supporting and training local troops.

The battle near the village of Tongo Tongo prompted the investigation into whether the soldiers had sufficient weaponry, ammunition and training for the mission in the west African nation.

The troops were initially attempting to hunt for a high-ranking Islamic State militant. That mission required approvals higher up the chain of command than it received, said Army Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier Jr., chief of staff for U.S. Africa Command and lead investigating officer.

More: Pentagon to unveil probe into Niger attack that killed 4 U.S. soldiers

More: ISIS: Video shows U.S. soldier deaths in Niger

But Cloutier stressed that the mission had been altered from a capture-or-kill effort to an intelligence gathering effort. The team was returning when the attack came. The failure to obtain proper command approval for the initial mission was not directly related to the later attack, he said.< /p>

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, said told CNN's New Day they were engaged in a mission "they were not authorized by law to participate in and that they were not trained to participate in. And that is a significant reason that they tragically lost their lives."

Killed were Army Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Fla.; Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29, of Lyons, Ga.

“The whole thing was a screwed-up mess,” Wright's father, Arnold Wright, told the Associated Press. Wright, who also was briefed on the report, said the Army may be pinning the blame on lower-ranking soldiers and not accepting command responsibility.

Johnson was initially declared missing when French helicopters evacuated the soldiers following the attack. Nigerian military personnel later recov ered his body at the scene.

Johnson’s death was at the center of a heated controversy between President Trump and Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., after Trump told Johnson’s pregnant widow that the soldier “knew what he signed up for.” Wilson overheard the phone call and publicly denounced Trump’s remarks.

A propaganda video released by the Islamic State appears to show the deadly militant ambush. Part of the nine-minute video appears to be taken from helmet camera of at least one of the soldiers, who finally falls. The video eventually cuts to footage shot by the militants that shows the soldiers' bodies.

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