The Pentagon is investigating Twitter posts that claim to show footage of Islamic militants ambushing U.S. troops in Niger that ended with the deaths of four American soldiers, Newsweek reported. This adds a new twist to a host of unanswered questions about the death of Sgt. La David Johnson.
“We are reviewing the post and determining the veracity of the tweet and the assertions that there is an associated video,” an official military statement said, adding that it cannot comment further because of an ongoing investigation into the Oct. 4 ambush.
The person who posted the video claimed to have obtained it from an Islamic State affiliate. One of the videos, which has been deleted, purports to show the dead bodies of American soldiers in their uniform. Investigators question its authenticity partly because the video was not release on known ISIS network channels.
U.S. and Nigerien forces were patrolling near a village in Niger called Tongo Tongo when they came under fire. What happened next remains a mystery that the Pentagon is probing, but it ended with the death of Johnson and three fellow American soldiers and Nigerien troops. An unofficial report on the Pentagon’s investigation disputed accounts reported in the media that said Johnson was captured in the ambush and apparently executed.
Controversy has swirled around this case since Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, received his remains in a casket but not allowed to view his body. News reports from Tongo Tongo said that villagers discovered Johnson’s body with his hands tied behind his back and the back of his head smashed, apparently from a hard object like a hammer. But the unofficial government account said he fought to the end but was never captured.