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US Military Probes Twitter Post Claiming to Show US Troops Killed in Niger


FILE - An honor guard carries the coffin of U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, at a graveside service in Hollywood, Florida, Oct. 21, 2017.

The U.S. military is reviewing images posted on the social media site Twitter that claim to show dead American soldiers killed during an ambush in Niger last year.

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said Wednesday it is "aware of the post on Twitter" and is reviewing it to determine "the veracity of the tweet and the assertions that there is an associated video."

The post says the images are from a more than 10-minute-long video broadcast by an affiliate of the Islamic State in Mali. The post adds that the video shows a wounded American soldier and the bodies of the three other U.S. soldiers who were killed in the October 4 ambush.

The militant attack near the village of Tongo Tongo killed four American soldiers, four Nigerian soldiers and a Nigerian interpreter.

A combination photo of U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson (L to R), U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Bryan Black, U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Dustin Wright and U.S. Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson killed in Niger, West Africa, Oct. 4, 2017, in t
A combination photo of U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson (L to R), U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Bryan Black, U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Dustin Wright and U.S. Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson killed in Niger, West Africa, Oct. 4, 2017, in t

A formal investigation into the deadly ambush in Niger is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

A group of 12 members of a U.S. Special Operations Task Force accompanied 30 Nigerian forces on a reconnaissance mission from the capital city of Niamey to an area near Tongo Tongo.

Members of the team had just completed a meeting with local leaders and were walking back to their vehicles when they were attacked, U.S. officials told VOA.

Some 1,300 U.S. military personnel work in the Lake Chad Basin — Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad — to help strengthen local militaries and counter Boko Haram, al-Qaida, IS and other extremist groups.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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