The United States military has identified the Green Berets who were killed in Niger on Wednesday and revealed that a fourth soldier was also killed in the ambush.
On Friday, the Pentagon stated that a fourth soldier was killed in the ambush, but did not disclose his identity. They did, however, release the names of the other deceased soldiers: Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, 35; Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, 39; and Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright, 29.
While no group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, military officials told Reuters that a local ISIS branch is suspected to be behind the attack.
Although, the military is keeping specific details under wraps, initial accounts say that the Americans were part of a 40 man patrol that came under attack from militants in about a dozen vehicles and as many as 20 motorcycles. The patrol was believed to be a low-risk operation, and Reuters notes that there was not even air cover to assist the soldiers in case of an attack.
A spokesman for the U.S. military’s Africa command explained, “It was not meant to be an engagement with the enemy. It was meant to establish relations with the local leaders, and the threats at the time were deemed to be unlikely, so there was no overhead armed air cover during the engagement.”
The fourth soldier who was killed was previously deemed missing until his body was discovered on Friday morning near the site of the attack.