- Nigerien officials are disputing the US’s account of a deadly raid that killed four American soldiers.
- A Nigerien officer told ABC News that he asked for more soldiers and weapons before the raid.
- The leader of the American team expressed concern that a second team was unable to join the raid later in the day.
Senior Nigerien officials are disputing the US’s public account of the deadly October raid that killed four American soldiers, according to a new ABC News report.
The Nigerien officials claim that the raid — described by Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as a “reconnaissance mission” — was “kill or capture” from the start.
US officials have previously told ABC News, and repeated in this latest report, that the mission started out as reconnaissance and shifted to “kill or capture” when a new objective was tacked on.
Nigerien sources also told Voice of America that US troops were tracking down an ISIS-affiliated target.
There is also disagreement over the perceived safety of the mission. A Nigerien officer told ABC News that he asked for more soldiers and weapons before the raid, but that request was reportedly rejected by the Americans.
Additionally, the mission reportedly went ahead after the leader of the American team expressed concern that a second team was unable to join the raid later in the day.
Asked why US troops were accompanying Nigerien forces, Dunford said at a Pentagon press conference that US forces would “only accompany partner forces when the chances of enemy contact are unlikely.”
At least one Nigerien official said that the “kill and capture” part of the mission brought the US-Nigerien team to the Niger-Mali border — which ABC News described as “a dangerous area known to locals as the ‘red zone.'” ABC News also notes that the US State Department recently warned about activity in the area.
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