Author Topic: 4 Oct 2017: 3 U.S. Army special operation commandos killed in ambush in Niger  (Read 2103 times)

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Offline Rifleman62

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/10/04/u-s-troops-take-hostile-fire-in-niger/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_usniger-750pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.aec649683862

3 Army special operation commandos killed in ambush in Niger, U.S. officials tell AP -Alex Horton - October 4 at 9:15 PM

A joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger, U.S. Africa Command said Wednesday.

“We are working to confirm details on the incident and will have more information as soon as we can confirm facts on the ground,” a command spokesman told The Washington Post.

The spokesman did not confirm whether any service members were killed or wounded and did not elaborate on the nature of the patrol. He also did not say when the attack occurred. The Associated Press reported the attack occurred north of the capital Niamey near the Mali border.

The United States has expanded its operations in Niger in recent years, including surveillance drone flights piloted from Niamey. The U.S. is also finishing construction on an installation at Agadez, a central city in the Sahara that will also closer fights to southern Libya and northern Mali to watch militants traversing remote desert stretches.

U.S. troops are tasked with training missions in Niger to combat extremist groups in the region, including security assistance with intelligence and reconnaissance efforts. al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb operates in Mali, further straining security on the border region.

Additionally, The Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group conducts advise and assist missions in Niger. A soldier from the unit died in a vehicle accident in February.

Africa Command’s statement came after unconfirmed reports of U.S. service members’ deaths in Niger from French-language radio station RFI, which details an incident on the border with Mali.

Nasser Weddady, a regional security analyst, told The Post it was unusual for U.S. troops to operate far into the western parts of the country.

- mod edit to thread title to add date, clarify U.S. pers involved -
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 14:27:22 by milnews.ca »
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: 3 Army special operation commandos killed in ambush in Niger
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 09:25:40 »
Update

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/10/04/u-s-troops-take-hostile-fire-in-niger/?utm_term=.9eeba77d55cb

Elite U.S. troops killed and wounded during surprise attack in Niger - Alex Horton October 5 at 8:26 AM

Three U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers were killed in Niger in northwestern Africa on Wednesday after their joint patrol with Nigerien forces was ambushed.

One “partner nation member” also died, and two other Americans were wounded, according to U.S. Africa Command, which released new details about the incident early Thursday. The wounded were evacuated to a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where they were in stable condition, officials said.

The Pentagon has not disclosed the troops’ names or service affiliation, pending notification of their families. Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations, confirmed for The Washington Post that those involved were assigned to an elite Special Forces unit.

The incident occurred near the border with Mali. It was first reported Wednesday by the New York Times.

U.S. Africa Command, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany, has provided no details about the mission, except to say it was for counterterrorism purposes. It’s unclear, though, why this unit would come into contact with enemy forces while performing what’s typically considered a training and advisory role.

The deaths mark the first known hostile-fire casualties in Niger. A 3rd Special Forces Group soldier was killed in a vehicle accident there in February.

Local media reported that the joint patrol was lured into an ambush near the village of Tongo Tongo in the Tillaberi region. The attackers were described as coming from neighboring Mali, where al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch has been battling both the government and a French-led coalition seeking to root them out of their desert hideouts.

The United States has expanded its operations in Niger in recent years, including surveillance drone flights piloted from Niamey, the capital. The United States is also finishing construction on an installation at Agadez, a central city in the Sahara, that will move flights closer to southern Libya and northern Mali. Closer proximity will allow longer flights, giving drone operators more time to monitor remote desert stretches where militants are known to traverse.

The 3rd Special Forces Group and other forces are tasked with training missions in Niger to combat extremist groups in the region, including security assistance with intelligence and reconnaissance efforts. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb operates in Mali, further straining security on the border region.

Nasser Weddady, a regional security analyst, told The Post it was unusual for U.S. troops to operate far into the western parts of the country. However, the Drive website reported that the Pentagon contracted fuel deliveries for Ouallam, a city about halfway between the capital and the Mali border.

Weapons flooded into the remote Sahara desert region after the fall of Moammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya in 2011, arming Tuareg separatists and Islamist militants who took refuge there.

An al-Qaeda-linked group briefly took over most of northern Mali in 2012 before it was defeated by a French military intervention. Remnants of the group still carry out attacks and kidnap Westerners.

Niger also faces spillover from the radical Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, which has expanded into attacking neighboring countries.

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Offline tomahawk6

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A fourth soldier had been MIA,but Niger forces recovered the body. So 4 SF were killed and two others were wounded and are at a US military hospital in Germany.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/10/06/fourth-us-soldier-was-killed-in-niger-ambush.html

Offline Retired AF Guy

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A fourth soldier had been MIA,but Niger forces recovered the body. So 4 SF were killed and two others were wounded and are at a US military hospital in Germany.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/10/06/fourth-us-soldier-was-killed-in-niger-ambush.html

Plus four Nigerian soldiers killed. More here:

Quote
Green Berets attend memorial of Nigerien soldiers killed while Pentagon inconsistent on Niger

SOFREP Original Content

BY DEREK GANNON 10.07.2017#FOREIGN POLICY 
Niamey, Niger — On Saturday the government of Niger held a memorial ceremony for its fallen in a square outside the mortuary building of the National Hospital in the capital city of Niamey. In attendance were members of the U.S. Army’s elite Green Berets to pay homage to the four Nigerien soldiers who fought and died as brothers in arms alongside U.S. Special Forces soldiers during a harrowing firefight after being ambushed by a large force suspected of being aligned to a terror group known as The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS).

The four Nigeriens who died during the ambush were assigned to a specialized security and intelligence battalion based in Ouallam, Niger within the Nigerien Army who in turn had Green Berets from the U.S. Army 3rd Special Forces Group assigned to them in a train/advise/assist role for the Nigerien counterinsurgency campaign in and around the village of Tongo Tongo within the southwestern border region of Niger and Mali.

Details of the ambush on the joint Green Beret-Nigerien force near the village of Tongo Tongo are still murky. Yet, what is known is that the 30 plus joint force came under a surprise attack by what is reported to have been a large group of about 50 insurgents affiliated with the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS).  The enemy force enveloped the team under withering heavy machine gun and small arms fire, some of which were mounted to trucks known as technicals.

The joint Green Beret- Nigerien team were split into two and separated from one another amidst the ambush. One group of six split from the main assault and from what was explained to SOFREP, began moving themselves out of the kill box to possibly gain a more advantageous flanking position on the enemy in order to engage them. The other portion of the team was trapped inside the ambush and would fight their aggressors until the end.

The attack would claim the lives of four U.S. soldiers, two Green Berets and two support soldiers. One support soldier we now know to have been missing in action along with four Nigerien counterparts.

French Special Operations forces along the border of Burkina Faso and Niger responded to the requests for help from the joint Green Beret team and helicoptered into the Tongo Tongo region where the ambush was taking place to reenforce the team. French Special Forces then used their helicopters to evacuate the team along with the dead and wounded back to Niamey. Yet, in the chaos of the ambush were unable to locate U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who therefore was deemed missing in action.

What we now know is that Sgt. Johnson had been missing in the remote Tongo Tongo region for 48 hours. Initially the Pentagon remained silent about this information as with any U.S. soldier designated missing in action within a hostile zone. This set in motion a fast-paced high-level special operations clandestine hostage rescue mission planning cycle to locate and extract the missing U.S. soldier or person. As expected, the Pentagon withheld this information to protect the secrecy of a potential rescue attempt by specialized elements within U.S. Special Operations.

Yet, after reporting began flooding in that a U.S. soldier was missing in action for two days in Niger and that the as of yet identified body of Sgt. Johnson was discovered, the inconsistencies coming from the Pentagon began to emerge.

What was reported initially was that a group of French and Nigerien forces were actively searching the area around the ambush site in order to locate Johnson, and get him to safety and medical treatment. Sadly that was not the case and Johnson’s body was found a short distance from the initial ambush site. The Pentagon reported that Johnson was found deceased and recovered by a Nigerien military unit and was then returned to the Americans in the highest of military honors.

Then this morning the Pentagon released a press statement saying that U.S. personnel were in fact the ones that recovered the body of Sgt. Johnson and that he is to be returning to U.S. soil within the next few days.

The inconsistency of the Pentagon reporting on this violent attack that resulted in soldiers losing their lives isn’t all that unexpected. This situation is still being picked apart by senior military officials as we speak to gain a clearer picture regarding what occurred. And there has been no acknowledgment of the events or the deaths of four U.S. soldiers that occurred in Niger from the White House or from President Donald Trump.  However what is important is that both U.S. and Nigerien soldiers who lost their lives on Wednesday are being honored by both nations’ militaries.

Green Berets attending the funeral memorials of these Nigerien soldiers is not unique to this event. A part of what makes Green Berets special is that these elite soldiers understand the power of ground level rapport and friendship building with other foreign armies. Green Berets are ambassadors of the United States and its foreign policy, they study the intricacies and innuendo of local customs and cultures and assimilate these ethos of their host nation to build a bond and trust between warriors.

These Green Berets and Nigeriens have forged a brotherhood under fire and will always consider one another as a part of their brothers in arms.

Article Link

 
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Carolyn Warner

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More info on the French response to the ambush:

Quote
French Special Forces responded to Green Berets ambushed in Niger.

SOFREP Original Content
BY DEREK GANNON 10.05.2017#EXPERT ANALYSIS

Niamey, Niger — More details continue to come to light on the fateful ambush in Niger on a 12 man team of U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha members, or what is known as a Green Beret ODA, and their Nigerien Army counterparts. French media are reporting that an unknown number of French Special Forces along with French warplanes responded to the 3rd Special Forces Group Green Berets call for help as they fought through withering gunfire from a superior number of insurgents.

The French Special Forces were also in Africa assigned to France’s counter-insurgency mission known as Operation Barkhane. Operation Barkhane which has over 3,000 French military forces along with their special operations units assigned to it, began in August 2014 to quell the rising terrorist presence and activities within Sahel region of Western Africa. Based in the capitol city of N’Djamena, Chad, Operation Barkhane was to be France’s “pillar of counterterrorism operations” with its focus being on al-Qaeda linked and other terrorist organizations within Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and parts of Chad itself.

The French Special Forces have an undisclosed number of its elite forces operating in Burkina Faso that shares a large border with Mali and southwest Niger near the Tongo Tongo region where the ambush on the Green Beret ODA took place.

French media is reporting today that French Special Forces responded to the Green Berets’ call for help and helicoptered in two teams to the ambush in Tongo Tongo. Where the French Special Forces soldiers were reported to have gotten into a firefight with elements of the terror group, al-Qaeda in the Magreb (AQIM) which may well have turned the tide for the Americans.
 
Also reported were two French Mirage 2000 warplanes dispatched to the area of where the Green Berets were under siege to provide close air support, only to be unable to provide air cover due to “terrain concerns and constraints.” This generally intimates that either there were issues visualizing the site due to dense foliage or that the Green Berets and the AQIM insurgents were locked in hand-to-hand distance levels of fighting that the French warplanes couldn’t differentiate between friend or foe battle lines.

After the gun battle subsided, French helicopters returned to evacuate American and Nigerien dead and wounded back to Niger’s capitol city of Niamey with two wounded Green Berets being evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for further medical care.

Article Link
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Carolyn Warner

Offline tomahawk6

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The French support was the difference and saved lives. Half of the ODA were either killed or wounded,a loss the SF hadnt suffered. Training kicked in when the ambush began the only thing left to do was to assault the ambushers.

Offline daftandbarmy

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The French support was the difference and saved lives. Half of the ODA were either killed or wounded,a loss the SF hadnt suffered. Training kicked in when the ambush began the only thing left to do was to assault the ambushers.

One can only hope they hot pursued the ambushers to the logical conclusion.... not doing so would encourage future ambushes.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline tomahawk6

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The SECDEF released a bit more info on the ambush and aftermath.The US needs to provide more aviation and air support to our deployment in Niger. We had to rely on contractos to fly our the wounded. I would think adding A-10's and helicopters would be an immediate need. Throw in a Spooky gunship and a robust QRF,i vote for a Canadian rifle company,the PM would bolster his street cred. O0

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/pentagon-troops-never-left-battlespace-in-niger-during-nearly-two-day-search-for-missing-soldier-1.493412

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military is searching for answers into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four U.S. soldiers killed two weeks ago in an ambush in Niger as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis conceded Thursday that little about the attack is known, including how one soldier became separated from the rest of his unit.

“I will just tell you in this specific case, contact was considered unlikely,” Mattis said at the Pentagon as he sought to quell speculation that Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was found dead after a nearly 48-hour search, was left behind by his fellow soldiers.

Offline daftandbarmy

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The SECDEF released a bit more info on the ambush and aftermath.The US needs to provide more aviation and air support to our deployment in Niger. We had to rely on contractos to fly our the wounded. I would think adding A-10's and helicopters would be an immediate need. Throw in a Spooky gunship and a robust QRF,i vote for a Canadian rifle company,the PM would bolster his street cred. O0

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/pentagon-troops-never-left-battlespace-in-niger-during-nearly-two-day-search-for-missing-soldier-1.493412

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military is searching for answers into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four U.S. soldiers killed two weeks ago in an ambush in Niger as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis conceded Thursday that little about the attack is known, including how one soldier became separated from the rest of his unit.

“I will just tell you in this specific case, contact was considered unlikely,” Mattis said at the Pentagon as he sought to quell speculation that Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was found dead after a nearly 48-hour search, was left behind by his fellow soldiers.

Better int might be nice too, and result in more dead bad guys before they whack the good guys.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline tomahawk6

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Better int might be nice too, and result in more dead bad guys before they whack the good guys.

Good point. :pumpkin:

Offline Old Sweat

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Side issue: Sgt Johnson, the "fourth soldier," is wearing Canadian jump wings in the picture used by CNN.

Offline tomahawk6

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Here is an update.SGT Johnson who was found some distance from the ambush site had been captured and executed.The soldiers killed in the ambush had been stripped of their uniforms and gear.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/us-soldier-in-niger-ambush-was-bound-and-apparently-executed-villagers-say/2017/11/10/3aebba3e-c442-11e7-9922-4151f5ca6168_story.html?utm_term=.0cf33762fc4e

NIAMEY, Niger — The body of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four U.S. soldiers killed in an ambush by Islamist militants in Niger last month, was found with his arms tied and a gaping wound at the back of his head, according to two villagers, suggesting that he may have been captured and then executed.

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Not surprising the terrorists did that.
I'm just like the CAF, I seem to have retention issues.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Here is an update.SGT Johnson who was found some distance from the ambush site had been captured and executed.The soldiers killed in the ambush had been stripped of their uniforms and gear.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/us-soldier-in-niger-ambush-was-bound-and-apparently-executed-villagers-say/2017/11/10/3aebba3e-c442-11e7-9922-4151f5ca6168_story.html?utm_term=.0cf33762fc4e

NIAMEY, Niger — The body of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four U.S. soldiers killed in an ambush by Islamist militants in Niger last month, was found with his arms tied and a gaping wound at the back of his head, according to two villagers, suggesting that he may have been captured and then executed.

As an armchair QB, it would seem that a good QRF could have dealt with that.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline tomahawk6

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I fault the command for changing the mission on the fly,which allowed the bad guys to ambush the patrol. As you know a well prepared ambush would kill everyone in minutes. Having air support overhead would have made the difference.The French saved their bacon or else the patrol would have been wiped out. I think the US advisors were targeted thinking the Niger troops would have been easy pickings by the bad guys. Fortunately the government troops performed well.