UPDATED: 11:25 a.m. EST — The ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers and injured two others in West Africa this month were not heavily armed when they came under fire from Islamic State-linked militants in Niger, according to a new CNN report.
One of the Nigerian soldiers traveling with the U.S. troops during the ambush told CNN that the Americans wore “no body armor and were driving unarmored 4x4s” and wearing “t-shirts and baseball caps.”
The soldier spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the ambush.
“I was surprised that the Americans would go out into the zone with such a light convoy and no air cover, no drones to keep watch over them,” he told CNN.
President Donald Trump went out of his way to say that he didn’t authorize the mission that the U.S, soldiers were on.
About 50 militants ambushed the 12-man U.S. convoy and 30 Nigerian soldiers on October 4 by using grenade launchers and high powered machine guns.
A second team of U.S. soldiers was on the ground nearby when the ambush happened, the Pentagon announced Friday. However, they never intervened or responded, and the four American soldiers were killed. While there groups was ultimately evacuated, Sgt. La David Johnson’s body wasn’t recovered for about 48 hours, prompting questions about preparations and response.
The wife of one of the four U.S. soldiers killed in West Africa this month has painted a completely different picture than another widow did of a condolence call from President Donald Trump. Michelle Black was reportedly comforted by Trump’s “gracious” call in the days after her Special Forces husband Bryan Black was killed in an ambush by Islamic State-linked militants in Niger.
“I’m very grateful that he called and he spoke to the kids. And I think that the excitement from that made it a little better, even if it was just for a minute,” the Gold Star widow told Fox News. “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.”
Black’s reaction stood in stark contrast to that of Myeshia Johnson, whose husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, was also killed in the ambush. Johnson, who is Black, said Trump was disrespectful and didn’t even remember her husband’s name. That account was verified by Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, and ultimately the White House. In turn, Trump called them liars in his latest nasty dispute with Black women.
The personal episode quickly became politicized, a fact which many Republicans condemned.
Wilson, a Democrat, started receiving death threats since she told the media of Trump’s comments to Johnson, a six months pregnant mother of two young children who was on her way to receive her husband’s body when the president called her. Consequently, Wilson has not been able participate in multiple House votes over concerns for her safety.
Questions remained unanswered surrounding the series of events that led to the ambush. Johnson’s body was recovered about 48 hours after his fellow soldiers were evacuated. His widow said she was not permitted to see his body before his funeral last week, a claim that the Pentagon told NewsOne was not true.
There has been some good news, though: A crowdfunding effort to secure tuition money for Johnson’s children was nearing it’s goal of $1 million in just over one week’s time since it was first posted.