Four U.S. service members were killed on Oct. 4 in Niger, West Africa. People have been demanding answers as to what took place, and why one service member was recovered almost 48 hours after the attack. The FBI is also now assisting the military in the investigation.
Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed when their 12-person team was ambushed. An ISIS-affiliated group is suspected of the attack.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters yesterday not to question the actions of the troops who were in Niger. He also told reporters not to expect quick answers in a situation such as this one.
“One point I would make having seen some of the news reports, the U.S. military does not leave its troops behind and I would just ask you not question the actions of the troops who were caught in the firefight and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once,” Mattis said Thursday at the Pentagon, according to The Washington Examiner’s Daily on Defense. “And I would also ask you don’t confuse your need for accurate information with our ability to provide it immediately in a situation like this.”
There are roughly 1,000 U.S. troops deployed to Africa, and Mattis said they are there to train people in the region.
“Mostly we’re providing refueling support, intelligence support, surveillance support, but also we have troops on the ground,” Mattis said Thursday. “Their job is to help the people in the region learn how to defend themselves. We call it foreign internal defense training and we actually do these kind of missions by, with and through our allies, and the loss of our troops is under investigation.”
While the incident is under investigation, Republican Sen. John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this week that he might seek a subpoena in order to get answers.
It was reported early Friday that the FBI is now assisting in the investigation.