(SL) – More details have been released about the ambush that claimed the lives of four soldiers in Niger.
The Daily Mail reports, Sgt. La David Johnson died in the October 3 mission along with Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright during an unplanned mission to capture or kill a high-ranking ISIS target.
The men had been out on a routine intelligence gathering mission when they were suddenly given the new order and embarked on it, venturing into dangerous territory with no increase in manpower, ammunition or weapons.
Shortly after 11am on October 3, they came under fire from 50 ISIS militants who were hiding behind trees on either side of a road near the remote village of Tongo Tongo which the soldiers had just left.
On Friday, a US official gave the fullest account yet of how the attack, which has been shrouded in secrecy and described murkily by US officials in Washington, played out.
They revealed that;
- Sgt. Johnson was in an armed pick-up truck that was in front of the vehicle carrying the other three men when the attack began
- He and others in the truck initially got out to return fire but got back into the vehicles when they realised they were dangerously outnumbered
- They sped ahead 200 yards then realized the other men, who were in an unarmed Land Cruiser, were behind and in the kill zone
- Two other US soldiers got out of the truck on foot and marched back towards the Cruiser while Johnson covered them from a mounted machine gun on the pick-up truck
- The cruiser was hit by a mortar and all three inside the vehicle were killed
- Johnson’s pick-up truck was also hit and it’s likely his body was thrown from it as it bounded along the ground
- For two hours after the first call for back-up was made, surviving soldiers were under fire from the militants
- When French fighter jets arrived and scared them off, the surviving US and Nigerien soldiers were back-to-back, still firing shots
- Sgt. Johnson’s body was only discovered on October 6 when a village elder, who previously stalled them from leaving Tongo Tongo, revealed where it was to Nigerien forces
- The men were due to have back-up for the doomed mission but the unit which was supposed to accompany them was unable to at the last minute
- Instead of being called back to base, they were told to proceed