Published: Thu, October 26, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Military Owes Families More Info On Niger

Military Owes Families More Info On Niger

The deaths prompt the question: What is the USA doing in Niger?

What exactly happened in the Niger ambush against United States troops?

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford addressed reports that officials were not "forthcoming" on the information surrounding the battle in Niger that killed 4 United States troops and wounded 2, during a press conference at the Pentagon on Monday.

It is still unclear how the group of 12 USA special forces troops that accompanied 30 Nigerien soldiers during what initially was a reconnaissance mission outside the country's capital Niamey got caught in an extended firefight with a large group of militants.

Within an hour of taking fire, the team requested support. Eventually, French Special Forces from Ouagadougou and Green Berets arrived on the scene.

Sgt. Johnson, a Floridian, was one of a dozen Special Operations and Green Beret forces who, along with 30 Nigerien soldiers, were in southwestern Niger on October 4 in an effort to track down a former member of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa. "The unit stayed a little longer than expected because apparently people were aware that something was going on". "In a sense, that's not terribly unusual here". "And it's not the president's military, it's the military of the United States of America", Leon Panetta, a former defense secretary and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said in April. Intelligence sources suggest he is the third highest priority target for the U.S. in Niger.

NBC reported: "One theory, said an official with direct knowledge of the military's investigation, said the soldiers were gathering information about the target, and, after learning his whereabouts, made a decision to pursue him". Official figures show more than 1,300 of the troops are deployed there.

A number of high-profile senators including Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrats Bob Casey and Chuck Schumer said they were all kept in the dark about the operation, which involved more than 1,000 U.S. personnel, CNN reports. Dunford asked for "a bit of patience" as the investigation continues.

"My guess is that Niger is just not something that is on the front of a lot of senators' minds and they have a lot of issues that they are working on, and they probably just have not been up to date on what is happening", he said. He's also filled his cabinet with military men.

Dunford acknowledged that many questions are still unanswered and even the Pentagon does not know exactly what happened and why. But the general public and USA lawmakers have also not exactly clamored for constant updates.

Trump has delegated far more autonomy to the Pentagon in conducting military operations than was offered by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The American troops met with a village elder, whose efforts to "stall" the USA forces led them to suspect a trap. "I think there is a massive attention gap". Following Kelly's press conference, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested it would be "highly inappropriate" to question Kelly on military matters, given his record as a retired Marine general.

The Constitution gives Congress, and only Congress, the authority to declare war. In reality, the steadily escalating U.S. military intervention in Africa has been a fairly open secret, provoking disquiet only after the October 4 debacle. By 2016, that number had jumped to more than 17 percent.

Dunford said the White House was notified by the operations center when it became clear that at least three US forces had been killed, and more direct notifications were made when officials realized that Johnson was missing. "For SFA, small footprints will usually mean small payoffs", it concluded.

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