The deaths of four special forces soldiers in a small corner of Niger known as Tongo Tongo was the largest loss of American military life in Africa since the “Black Hawk Down” killings in Somalia 25 years ago.
Now an investigation into their killing last October, has found “individual, organisational and institutional failures and deficiencies” contributed to their deaths.
In America, the first response to the attack was to ask what US troops were doing in this lesser-known part of Africa, and if it was a supporting mission, why were they in danger?
The issue was inflated when one of the widows claimed President Donald Trump’s call of condolence was insensitive.
And when various explanations of how they were killed didn’t seem to add up, there were calls for an inquiry.
The investigation by the US defence department runs to thousands of pages and involved interviews with 143 witnesses. But it may still fall short in the eyes of relatives, as much of the findings remain classified.
Although identifying problems the eight-page executive summary found that “no single failure or deficiency was the sole reason” for what happened.