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Pentagon concludes investigation into Niger ambush and is briefing families, it says

Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson of the 3rd Special Forces Group were killed during an October ambush in Niger. (Twitter)
April 24, 2018

The U.S. military is briefing the families of the four soldiers killed in the October ambush in Niger on findings from the investigation into the incident that recently concluded, the Pentagon said Monday.

“We’re currently in the process of briefing the families of those fallen soldiers in order to provide them with the results of the investigation,” Pentagon Spokesman Col. Rob Manning said, the Washington Examiner reported.

After detailing the results of the investigation to the families, Manning said the Pentagon will brief Congress and then release the findings to the public.

The findings could become public by as early as this week, but it could take much longer due to the nature of the findings.

On Oct. 4, 2017, four American soldiers and several Nigerian troops were killed when they were ambushed by ISIS-linked militants near the village of Tongo Tongo, more than 100 miles north of the country’s capital.

Americans Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed in the ambush.

The investigation findings are expected to cover how Operational Detachment – Alpha Team 3212 was on a routine, approved patrol before being redirected to an operation to go on a kill-and-capture raid for Doundoun Cheffou, an ISIS-linked militant believed to be involved in the kidnapping of an American in Mali.

According to preliminary findings, two Defense Department officials said senior officers in the chain of command believed that Team 3212 was going to meet with tribal leaders only, and they were not aware of a reroute to the Mali border to go after Cheffou.

The mission was later scrapped due to inclement weather, and Team 3212 continued with its reconnaissance mission to collect information when intelligence officials learned that Cheffou had left his encampment on the Mali border.

Senior officers at the Africa Command headquarters and its Special Operations component in Stuttgart, Germany, and senior leaders at a Special Operations regional command in Chad were not aware of any changes to the plan, according to the findings.

On Oct. 4, 2017, Team 3212 was ambushed by ISIS militants with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns. The team was making its way back to the base in Ouallam, from Cheffou’s encampment,