It describes how the fleeing troops set up a quick defensive location on the edge of a swamp and — thinking they were soon to die — wrote messages home to their loved ones.
The video, released by the Pentagon with explanatory narration, includes more than 10 minutes of drone footage, file tape and animation that wasn’t made public last week when the military released a portion of the final report on the October attack. The video depicts for the first time the harrowing hours as troops held off their enemy and waited for rescue.
There were 46 U.S. and Nigerien troops out on the initial mission in the west African nation, going after but failing to find a high-value militant, then collecting intelligence at a site where the insurgent had been. The team was heading home when it was attacked by more than 100 militants just outside the village of Tongo Tongo. During the firefight, a number of the Nigeriens escaped by truck, but four
The video depicts seven American forces and four Nigeriens fleeing on foot, under heavy mortar and small arms fire. They crossed through a swamp, and at about
“They wrote short messages to loved ones on personal devices, believing they would soon be overrun,” the video narrator says. Just 21 minutes later, two unarmed
After nearly three hours of waiting, French helicopters arrived, and an American soldier can be seen on the video moving out into the clearing, waving a
The video shifts to an overhead view near the team waiting at the clearing, and two trucks can be seen moving into the frame. The drone video zooms in on them, and flashes of gunfire light up the screen.
A friendly Nigerien response force had arrived to help, and mistook the team for enemy insurgents. For 48 seconds they fired on the team with automatic weapons, until they were able to confirm their identity. No one was injured in that brief gunfight.
At the same time,
About two days later, Nigerien military forces located Johnson’s body, in the heavy brush under a thorny tree, where he had hidden and fought in his final stand against the enemy. The video shows the Nigeriens carefully carrying his body to the back of a waiting truck, and later transferring him to a helicopter.
Also killed in the ambush were: Staff Sgt.
The investigation of the incident by
He said the review, which began immediately, will look at counterterrorism operations, personnel policies that affect units preparing to deploy and any administrative requirements that are relevant.