The Pentagon announced on Friday that a fourth Army Green Beret soldier had died in an ambush in Niger during what was believed to have been only a training mission involving Nigerien troops.
The troops came under fire from Islamic militants. U.S. Army special forces soldiers have been in Niger training local forces to combat the rebels.
The fourth soldier was identified as Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25, from Miami Gardens, Florida. He was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Johnson had been initially listed as missing following Wednesday’s ambush that took place in a remote area along Niger’s border with Mali.
He was one of about a dozen U.S. Army soldiers conducting a joint patrol with about 40 soldiers from Niger when they came under attack by about 50 enemy fighters.
Johnson’s remains were recovered on Friday by soldiers from Niger near the site of the ambush after an intense search for the missing soldier by forces from the U.S., Niger and France.
Analyst comment: We don’t currently assess war on the African continent because at present there are not many threats to U.S. national security developing there. However, as the U.S. military becomes more involved there, and as other great powers including China continue to bolster their presence on the continent, the threat of great power war there, either directly or by proxy, may become more likely.