The Islamic State (IS) group has released a video alleging to show an trap in Niger in which four U.S. soldiers were killed last October.
Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, head of U.S. Africa Command, has completed an investigation into the ambush, which is now being reviewed by Defense Secretary James Mattis, Manning said.
A 12-member Army Special Forces unit was accompanying 30 Nigerien forces when they were attacked in a densely wooded area by as many as 50 militants traveling by vehicle and carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
At one point in the video, a U.S. soldier is shot and a comrade attempts to pull him to cover behind the SUV.
A narrator then calls on Muslims to support the jihadis' self-proclaimed caliphate as excerpts of a video show members of the Jama Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, a coalition of West African Islamist militant groups, pledging allegiance to ISIS in March 2017, as well as a clip of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and images of USA soldiers both alive and dead.
The investigation finds no single point of failure leading to the attack, which occurred after the soldiers learned Chefou had left the area, checked his last known location and started for home. The fourth, La David T. Johnson, was found several days later, prompting questions about how he'd died and whether he'd been captured alive or killed at close range.
The video begins with images of an alleged pledge of commitment to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by members of the al-Qaeda-linked, Sahel-based group Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), and then seems to suggest that the attack was made by IS militants.
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The video, taken from a helmet cam, shows the soldiers' last moments on a low-risk patrol in Tongo Tongo. The video was reportedly released on the Telegram messaging application.
That report also claimed that a USA commander in Niger changed the mission's parameters to the militant hunt - a claim the recent Stars and Stripes report directly contradicts.
The soldier whose camera the video is shot from stumbles, but recovers and attempts to aid another soldier who appears to have already been killed.
"The release of these materials demonstrates the depravity of the enemy we are fighting", the Pentagon said in a statement Monday. The Pentagon's investigation into the Niger ambush and what took place is expected to be released later this week.
The United States has about 800 troops in Niger to help train local forces and fight terrorism. Most news agencies have only published clips of the footage.
"Knowing that they were asked to try and complete and execute this type of mission with that type of equipment, I just could not believe it", Republican Congressman Marc Veasey told CBS news.