Niamey, Niger — Shortly after releasing the names of the deceased Green Berets and soldiers from the ambush that occurred in the Tongo Tongo region of southwestern Niger. The Department of Defense (DOD) has just confirmed the death of a U.S. service member who was missing in action after the hellish firefight the Green Beret team assigned to the U.S. Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group.
The name of the service member, who was found earlier this morning in northwestern Niger by Nigerien forces, has not been released pending notification of next of kin. However, SOFREP has learned more details as to what happened to the Green Beret team and its Nigerien counterparts during the ambush.
As reported before the Green Berets found themselves returning from a joint U.S. advised direct action raid on suspected area known for terrorist activity Wednesday, when they were hit by an enemy force of 50 or more from what is a new wing of the Islamic State called The Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS). The joint Green Beret team was met with withering machine gun and small-arms fire and immediately began to take casualties. Nigeriens took what was reported to SOFREP as heavy casualties and in the midst of all the chaos and were reported to have fled from the ambush leaving the Green Berets alone to fight off the attack.
SOFREP has also learned that it wasn’t just Special Forces operators on the ground, they had military support personnel with them that were reported as being drivers of the American vehicles from the joint raid. Support soldiers like Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson who was a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist who was killed during the attack and another soldier who we have learned now was missing in action.
So fierce was the attack that the Green Beret team was split into two and separated from one another amidst the ambush. One group of six split from the main assault and from what was explained to SOFREP, began moving themselves out of the kill box to possibly gain a more advantageous flanking position on the enemy in order to engage them. The other portion of the team was trapped inside the ambush and would fight their aggressors until the end, resulting in three U.S. Special Forces soldiers dead with two more wounded and reportedly eight Nigeriens dead or injured.
The other split element never linked back up with the other Americans after the French helicoptered in troops to assist the Green Berets and were considered missing in action after attempting to raise them over the radio. Five of the soldiers were found and accounted for, all except one, the young soldier who DoD has just announced dead today. He had been missing in action for 48 hours and was a mechanic assigned the the Green Beret team who was also driving one of the vehicles reportedly coming back from a joint direct action raid.
Right now little is known as to whether this U.S. service member went with the other group of Americans and was separated from them, or if he was captured early on in the raid and killed at the hands of terrorists of the Islamic State. What is known is that this U.S. service member was found alone in a remote part of Niger and was sadly dead. Africa is no stranger to death and violence, and the U.S. Green Berets are there to train and advise nations of the willing to quell the spread of terrorism and help fight the Global War on Terror.
This story, due to the clandestine nature of Special Operations, is and will continue to be fluid. SOFREP will continue to track and update as new information becomes available.
Feature image courtesy of AFRICOM