WASHINGTON — A U.S. Africa Command team visited the village of Tongo Tongo, Niger, on Sunday as part of an investigation into the Oct. 4 ambush that left four American soldiers dead.
“This mission allowed the investigation team to gather information and determine the facts related to the ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers and four Niger Force soldiers,” AFRICOM said in a press release.
“The AFRICOM investigation team interviewed local villagers; conducted a physical examination of multiple areas of interest related to the attack; and retraced actions leading up to, during and after this ambush.”
The onsite visit is part of a formal investigation launched by AFRICOM. The investigation is being led by Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier Jr., chief of staff for U.S. Africa Command, and is expected to conclude sometime in January.
According to AFRICOM, the recent visit to Tongo Tongo was planned with operational security concerns in mind and minimizing the impact on local civilians in the area.
“Sufficient assets were available in the event we had to respond to an attack that threatened innocent civilians, our partner forces or our own personnel,” the press release reads.
The Oct. 4 incident has left many unanswered questions, and while U.S. officials have offered few details into the ambush, several media reports have painted conflicting pictures of what happened on the ground.
“AFRICOM will continue to investigate the details surrounding this ambush until we are satisfied that we have learned everything that we can from this incident,” the command said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.