What we know about the deadly ambush in Niger

MARCH 8 2015

African troops seen training in Chad have been fighting several groups in the nation as well as Niger and Mali

Staff Sergeants Bryan Black, Dustin Wright, Jeremiah Johnson and Sergeant La David Johnson-the four soldiers killed in the October 4 ambush-were part of a 12-man team training Nigerien troops.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that President Donald Trump can't be satisfied with the military operation in Niger that left four men dead, but declined to comment on the details of the raid.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the FBI's involvement. But critics have pounced on the fact that it fell to France to help American troops as evidence the US military did not have adequate force-protection measures in place, and had failed in its intelligence gathering. The investigation will be an effort "to get all the facts correct", an administration official familiar with the review has told CNN.

One question for which there is no answer yet is whether warning signs that an ambush was in the works were missed.

The group has claimed responsibility for at least 35 attacks since it formed in early March, "including the June 18 attack on a Western-frequented hotel near Bamako, Mali, and probably are responsible for the August 13 attack on a Western-frequented cafe in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso", Mack adds. Following the murder of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi by the rebels on October 20 that year, Libya collapsed into chaos and anarchy, allowing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) and other militants to establish footholds and arm their followers using weapons pillaged from Libyan arsenals.

In addition to those killed, two Americans were wounded. Speaking to reporters after the visit, Parly stressed the importance of the Iran deal. Four of the twelve-odd US troops and five of the 40 Nigeriens were killed in the fighting before French gunships and a Nigerien counterattack chased the militants off.

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pushed back, saying it naturally takes time to verify information about a combat engagement.

"Nothing could further from the truth and that's an important myth that needs to be corrected now", said Lt. Gen. Ken McKenzie during a Pentagon briefing. The fourth soldier's body was not found until nearly two days after the ambush. "We've been waiting for weeks and weeks. But on a battlefield, the enemy gets a vote".

Separately, National Security Adviser HR McMaster cautioned against jumping to any premature conclusions about the incident.

According to the aide, there was no U.S. overhead surveillance during the mission, and no American quick-reaction force was available.

The Pentagon chief has previously praised the less than 30-minute French response time after the attack on the joint US-Niger patrol, and officials say it shows how well the two countries' forces are working together.

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