CBS Information travelled to the distant scene of a lethal. Correspondent Debora Patta met locals who witnessed the ambush final month, which left 4 American troopers lifeless. Patta filed the next story from the Nigerien capital.
NIAMEY — The journey to the ambush web site was a spherical journey of 12 hours. Our Nigerien army escort was nonetheless jittery after final month’s assault and never eager to linger, giving us lower than half an hour on the bottom.
The village of Tongo Tongo on the treacherous border between Niger and Mali is so distant, you may’t even discover a street that results in it on a map.
That is the place Nigerien and American troops stopped to get water earlier than they had been ambushed.
A village elder, who was so nervous he requested to talk to us at one other location, advised us a couple of males immediately appeared on motorbikes — the popular mode of transport for ISIS fighters within the area.
“It was only a few terrorists. We predict, ‘if it is only a few terrorists the troopers can kill them simply,’ however we did not know there have been so many extra of them ready close by,” the person tells us.
It was a lure.
As soon as the ISIS fighters had lured the troops away from the village, their numbers multiplied. All of the sudden they had been beneath assault. You possibly can nonetheless see the bullet casings left over from the extraordinary capturing.
The elder advised us there have been about 20 motorbikes with two males on every, armed with both AK-47s or RPGs, and a minimum of 10 autos that descended on the troops. Terrified, he hid in his residence all through the preventing, which he mentioned went on properly over two hours.
All that is left now are the fragmented remnants of a battleground. The burnt shell of a small one-roomed college, blood stained bushes, smoke grenades and empty bins of ammunition.
We discover a distraught aged girl, Hadjra, the village chief’s mom. He was arrested on suspicion of colluding with the ISIS fighters.
Hadjra insists it is not true.
The village elder advised us that terrorists usually cross over the border from Mali to launch small assaults, however he has by no means seen something just like the battle that raged at Tongo Tongo.
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