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According to a senior U. As they took fire, Americans in a lead position got out of their vehicle to return fire, the official said. But as the fight intensified, the group of Americans and Nigeriens decided to get out of the "kill zone" and move forward approximately yards. The two U. Two of the Americans turned back on foot to search for the missing vehicle while others followed in the pickup truck as Sgt. La David Johnson, who was later killed, gave them cover by firing with the machine gun mounted on the back of one of the pickup trucks.
It was then that the separated Land Cruiser was hit by a mortar and then gunfire. Inside were Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright -- all killed in the attack. The battle was fierce as the American and Nigerien forces fought to keep from being overrun by waves of fighters. The Americans continued to fight from their vehicles and on foot. At some point, one of the U.
According to the official, Sgt. La David Johnson, whose body was not located until two days after the attack, became separated from the rest of the group, possibly because he was ejected from one of the vehicles as it bounced across the rough terrain. Two hours after the first shots were fired and one hour after the Americans called for help, French Mirage jets buzzed low over the battle space. Though they didn't drop weapons, the action caused the enemy to cease fire and begin retreating into the local population.
French special forces, accompanied by one to two U. But we would have lost everybody if it wasn't for the French. Joseph Dunford said during a Pentagon briefing on Monday. Later, a team that investigated the scene of the attack reported the fighters used perfectly spaced firing positions along the road -- suggesting a level of sophistication to the ambush. According to two senior intelligence sources, the new task was to kill-or-capture a high-value target believed to be in the area. He had other arrests, including one in , when as a teenager he was accused of attacking an officer with brass knuckles.
While he railed in his video about how inmates are treated behind bars, prison records show he had been written up more than two dozen times for disciplinary reasons — mostly for relatively minor infractions, but sometimes for top-level violations such as assaulting an inmate or fighting. Early Wednesday, Bonds was caught on video leaving a convenience store, then moving tightly along the wall, pulling a hoodie over his head and walking purposefully toward the command post vehicle with gloved hands, according to police.
The video didn't capture the shooting itself but showed him running away with a gun in his hand, police said. Familia's partner frantically radioed for help, and officers caught up with Bonds about a block away and killed him in a hail of about 20 bullets when he pulled a stolen revolver, police said. He didn't get off a shot, authorities said.
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All the NYPD's new patrol cars have bulletproof glass, and older vehicles are being fitted with window inserts to harden them against gunfire. But there are no plans to do the same with the rolling command centers, officials said. Politics U. Sections U. Follow NBC News. Two U. Black enlisted in the U. Army in October and eventually became a Special Forces medical sergeant 18D , he was subsequently assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd SFG in June and deployed to Afghanistan for two months in July. Black's funeral was held in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on 18 October He previously deployed to Jordan in Johnson was married to Crystal and had two daughters, Addie and Elisa.
He was posthumously awarded the rank of Sgt. Johnson's family enrolled him in Role Models, a mentorship program of US Representative Frederica Wilson that prepared African American children for college, vocational school, or the military. In school, Johnson met Myeshia Manual, whom he married on 22 August His funeral was held at a church in Cooper City, Florida , on 21 October In July , Wright enlisted in the U.
Congo's Virunga park reopens eight months after deadly ambush
Army as an engineer and ultimately became a Special Forces engineer sergeant 18C assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group. A small section of Georgia Highway 1 was named in memorial of Wright in April On 5 October, President Mahamadou Issoufou condemned the ambush and called for a moment of silence "to the memory of our soldiers who have fallen on the field of honour" and to the memory of "all victims of terrorism".
In an interview with Voice of America , Almou Hassane, the mayor of Tondikiwindi , alleged that residents of Tongo Tongo were complicit in the ambush: "The attackers, the bandits, the terrorists have never lacked accomplices among local populations". Karimou Yacouba, the local member of the National Assembly , told The Guardian , "Everything that happened could have been prevented if help had arrived sooner".
The ambush was the deadliest combat incident involving US soldiers since Donald Trump took office as President on 20 January The former was aboard Air Force One , having left Las Vegas after visiting victims and first responders affected by a recent mass shooting. However, Trump did not make a statement on the ambush for the next twelve days; his lack of response drew criticism from commentators and the press.
Trump responded by saying that he wrote letters to the families of the victims, but falsely accused his predecessors, specifically President Obama, of not or rarely calling the families of deceased soldiers. Representative Frederica Wilson , who was present during the call, alleged that Trump told the widow that La David Johnson "knew what he signed up for" and only referred to him as "your guy", indicating that Trump did not actually know the soldier's name. This account was disputed by Trump, who said that he "had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife" and accused Wilson of "fabricating" her account.
Trump's Benghazi ". On 25 October, Trump told reporters that he did not "specifically" authorize the mission in Niger.
Al-Qaida Group Claims Deadly Ambush of UN Peacekeepers in Mali | Voice of America - English
Haley also expected the G5 Sahel to "take on full regional ownership of the force within a period of three to six years, with continued US engagement". Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the money would "bolster our regional partners" in fighting against militant groups. On 13 December, Wilson told Jonathan Capehart on his podcast that there was a cover-up.
Senator John McCain stated that the Trump administration was not being forthcoming about the details of the ambush. McCain also said that the Senate Armed Services Committee , of which he is the chairman, would like to get the information "it deserves and needs", before deciding whether a formal investigation is necessary. After the meeting, Mattis told reporters, "We can do better at communication". However, Senator Richard Blumenthal said, "I could not look those families in the eye and say we're doing everything we need to do to provide sufficient intelligence that will enable them to be successful in their missions and avoid the kind of catastrophe that we saw here".
Shanahan 's nomination as Secretary of Defense , alleging that he "mishandled" the investigation into the Tongo Tongo ambush. On May 10, , the U. Department of Defense released an unclassified executive summary of the DoD's investigation and gave a briefing on the outcome of the department's investigation.
The report found that "personnel turnover" had caused the member U. Special Forces team to forgo important training before being deployed, and that the team did not rehearse the mission. The investigation also found that "two junior officers had 'mischaracterized' the mission" in planning documents. On May 17, , the U. Department of Defense released a 23 minute video showing a digital recreation of the ambush.
On 18 October, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, who was also present during the conference call, confirmed Wilson's account saying "Yes, [Wilson's] statement is true", and "I was in the car and I heard the full conversation". She said she didn't like Trump's tone and that she broke down when Trump fumbled her husband's name. Myeshia Johnson wanted to see her husband's body, but was reportedly not allowed to do so by the military.
On 25 October, Michelle Black said she was grateful that Trump called her and spoke to her children: "So, yeah he was very gracious and I appreciate anyone who calls cause, like I said, that takes quite a bit of bravery to call into that kind of situation". On 18 December, Jones-Johnson accused the Department of Defense of lying to her family about how her son was killed. On 20 October, National Review senior writer David French criticized the comparison between the ambush and the Benghazi attack and said, "All available evidence suggests that this is a tragedy rather than a scandal".
On 20 October, Jason Ditz wrote an article for The American Conservative saying, "Niger provides a terrifying reminder of how far we are from being an informed American public that serves as a check and balance on what our military is doing in our name. We can't have a debate on US intervention overseas if we don't even know where are our forces are, let alone to what end". On 10 November, local villagers told The Washington Post that La David Johnson's body was found with his arms tied,  but the Associated Press reported on 17 December that there were no indications he was shot at close range, had been bound, or taken prisoner.
Multiple U. A spokesperson from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces said on 5 October that French soldiers who were participating in Operation Barkhane and based in Chad were involved in an operation in Niger. Department of Defense released military records on 26 October that showed that the killed US soldiers had little to no experience in combat. For Wright, Niger was his first overseas deployment. On 2 November, four senior Nigerien officials told ABC News that the operation was always a kill or capture mission, contradicting the statement made by Dunford on 23 October.
After a Twitter user published a series of posts claiming to have footage from the ambush, AFRICOM said on 24 January , "We are reviewing the post and determining the veracity of the tweet and the assertions that there is an associated video". In November , the US military sent letters of reprimand to four officers and two soldiers, most notably to Air Force Major General Marcus Hicks, who was in charge of special operations forces in Africa, and Captain Michael Perozeni.
Nine valor medals, including four Silver Stars , were awarded to members of ODA for their actions during the ambush. Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Sgt. Bryan Black and Sgt First Class. Jeremiah Johnson posthumously received the Bronze Star with Valor. In March more than five months after the attack, the SUV used by the Americans and the helmet cam footage was discovered by Tuareg Rebels in Mali after clashes with bandits in the border area. They offered to return it to the US by legal means.
Jeremiah Johnson was recovered by French forces during an operation in the Mali-Niger border region.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Tongo Tongo. Insurgency in the Maghreb and Sahel —present. Play media. Niger portal United States portal War portal.
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- La Malédiction des Templiers (French Edition).
Soldiers Died in a Remote African Desert". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February Bamako: SFGate. Retrieved 19 October ABC News. Retrieved 20 October Retrieved 26 September