New Niger drone video shows har­row­ing es­cape of U.S. forces

The Maui News - - NEWS - By LOLITA C. BALDOR The As­so­ci­ated Press

WASHINGTON — Dra­matic new drone video of the Niger am­bush that killed four Amer­i­can sol­diers shows U.S. forces des­per­ately try­ing to es­cape and fight­ing for their lives af­ter friendly Nige­rien forces mis­took them for the en­emy.

It de­scribes how the flee­ing troops set up a quick de­fen­sive lo­ca­tion on the edge of a swamp and — think­ing they were soon to die — wrote mes­sages home to their loved ones.

The video, re­leased by the Pen­tagon with ex­plana­tory nar­ra­tion, in­cludes more than 10 min­utes of drone footage, file tape and an­i­ma­tion that wasn’t made pub­lic last week when the mil­i­tary re­leased a por­tion of the fi­nal re­port on the Oc­to­ber at­tack. The video de­picts for the first time the har­row­ing hours as troops held off their en­emy and waited for res­cue.

There were 46 U.S. and Nige­rien troops out on the ini­tial mission in the west African na­tion, go­ing af­ter but fail­ing to find a high-value mil­i­tant, then col­lect­ing in­tel­li­gence at a site where the in­sur­gent had been. The team was head­ing home when it was at­tacked by more than 100 mil­i­tants just out­side the vil­lage of Tongo. Dur­ing the fire­fight, a num­ber of the Nige­riens es­caped by truck, but four U.S. and four Nige­rien troops were gunned down.

The video de­picts seven Amer­i­can forces and four Nige­riens flee­ing on foot, un­der heavy mor­tar and small arms fire. They crossed through a swamp, and at about 12:50 p.m. on Oct. 4, they

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