Four U.S. soldiers were killed and two wounded in an ambush by 50 enemy fighters in the Greater Sahara on Oct. 4.
Initial reports stated that the group of 12, led by Green Berets, was leaving a meeting with local leaders in unarmored pick-up trucks when bullets from small arms were shot through the cars, along with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.
Later, officials released that the men were walking back to the trucks after the meeting when the ambush commenced. The firefight lasted 30 minutes before French Mirage jets arrived overhead in an attempt to disperse the attacking militants.
Three men were pronounced dead until it was recognized that a service member was unaccounted for. Search-and-rescue operations were set into action by the U.S., French and Nigerien troops.
Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s body was identified as the fourth member killed. Officials have yet to unveil how he was separated from the group and missing for 48 hours after the others were taken to safety.
Some sources claim that the military’s intelligence deemed it unlikely that the team would run into enemy groups.
Others claim that the military should have known that ISIS was active in the area, when ISIS and Al-Qaeda have utilized much of the transit routes near where the attack occurred.
The two-week delay in President Trump’s recognition of the casualties has raised some concerns and surfaced questions regarding the details of the ambush. He has yet to publicly state the group responsible for the attack that most are identifying as ISIS.
Details about the attack are still being investigated and much is still unknown about the unexpected encounter with enemy troops.