STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. Africa Command has completed its long-awaited investigation of itself after the deadly Oct. 2017 ambush in Niger and has found no problems whatsoever, sources confirmed today.
In an 8-page unclassified summary of its investigation into the incident, which resulted in four American and four Nigerien soldiers killed, Africa Command found that there were a number of errors at all levels of leadership prior to the raid but each of them canceled each other out, so no blame could be assigned.
"We have looked at all the relevant information and interviewed hundreds of witnesses," said Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, head of Africa Command. "And we have found that this attack was caused by ISIS alone. Having air support, heavy weapons, armored trucks, or accurate intelligence about the situation on the ground from this team's leadership would not have changed the outcome."
Indeed, sources inside the command told reporters there were "individual, organizational, and institutional failures that contributed to the tragic events" of Oct. 4, but "no single failure or deficiency was the sole reason" for what happened in Niger, since that sole reason was probably someone other than an enlisted soldier.
The investigation found that the air support plan was woefully inadequate, since French jets did not appear on station until 47 minutes after the firefight began, and they could not fire on enemy forces since there was no communication with the ground. Worse still, according to Africa Command sources, was that some on the Special Forces team were not wearing eye protection and others left their base wearing Oakley boots and white socks.
"This investigation is concluded, and I'd like to remind you that Green Berets are quiet professionals, known to never speak of the missions they undertake," Waldhauser said. "In this case, we are counting on that."
Bert Brrrrt contributed reporting.