On-site joint military team to investigate Niger attack: report

On-site joint military team to investigate Niger attack: report
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The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has dispatched a joint military team to investigate the Niger terrorist attack last month that left four American and four Nigerian soldiers dead, The Associated Press reported Sunday.

The U.S. and Niger militaries will interview residents around the village of Tongo Tongo and look into the circumstances that led to the soldiers' deaths on Oct. 4, AFRICOM told the AP.

This joint investigation is part of a broader review being led by multiple agencies across the U.S., Africa and Europe that are looking to uncover how the ambush came about.

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The Pentagon has indicated that January is the earliest the investigation could be wrapped up as it looks into questions about whether the soldiers' commando unit was carrying out its assigned mission when extremists launched their attack.

Lawmakers, most notably Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (R-Ariz.), have been critical of the lack of transparency on the part of the Pentagon concerning the ambush.

Following criticism from McCain and others, military leaders promised to be more forthcoming with information about what led to the soldiers' deaths. Last month, after a briefing on the Niger attack, McCain said the Pentagon was making progress on the investigation and that he was "pleased at the cooperation" members of Congress were getting from officials.

The controversy has led to calls for more information about U.S. counterterrorism operations in that region of Africa.

President Trump drew criticism last month when he claimed in a press conference after the ambush that former President Obama and other past presidents didn't call the families of fallen soldiers.