The U.S. military has recovered additional remains of deceased Sgt. La David Johnson in Niger more than a month after he was killed in a fatal Islamic State ambush, CNN reports.
The discovery reportedly occurred when FBI and U.S. military investigators went to the scene of the ambush in a wide ranging investigation as to how four U.S. troops were killed in early October. Johnson’s death in particular is the subject of intense inquiry amid revelations that it took nearly 48 hours to discover his body after the fatal ambush.
“On Nov. 12, 2017, a joint U.S Africa Command military investigation team discovered additional human remains at the site where Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s body was recovered following the Oct. 4 attack. Today, we can confirm that the Armed Forces Medical Examiner has positively identified these remains as those of Sgt. Johnson. The department continues to conduct a detailed and thorough investigation into the deaths of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, and Sgt. La David T. Johnson,” Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana White said in a statement.
The U.S. military previously revealed that its investigation will likely not be complete until January 2018. The few details known indicate a 12-man U.S. team accompanied Nigerien security forces on a routine mission near the Niger-Mali border when dozens of Islamic State fighters ambushed the group. The 12-man team was on a reconnaissance mission to develop intelligence on the whereabouts of ISIS leaders in the area.
Johnson was separated from the rest of his unit sometime during the ambush. His teammates are thought to have been killed at the initial ambush site where their bodies were found similarly stripped by a villager who talked to CBSNews. Nigerien, U.S., and French forces searched for Johnson’s body for nearly 48 hours before it was found.
U.S. military investigators suspect Nigerien villagers of selling out the location of the team to the terrorist group and even assisting in helping the ambush set up. Villagers reportedly sought to delay the departure of U.S. soldiers from a meeting while ISIS militants set their trap.
The ISIS affiliate is known as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and is led by Abu Walid al Sahrawi. Sahrawi has a long history with militant groups in Mali and at different times having associations with al-Qaida, running his own militia, and finally pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in May 2015.
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