The Pentagon released a video Thursday that recreated the October 4, 2017, ambush in Niger that left four US soldiers and five Nigeriens dead, revealing details previously unknown to the public.
The full 23-minute video still hasn’t been released: an abbreviated version, only 11 minutes long, was shown to reporters, and Stars and Stripes has a roughly 20-minute version on their website.
New information revealed in the video includes the heart-wrenching discovery that the American forces who made it through the ordeal wrote “short messages to loved ones on personal devices, believing they would soon be overrun,” as local Daesh forces surrounded them while they took a defensive position in a swamp.
The video, which was prepared by the Defense Department for the US Congress, comes one week after the completion of a 6,300-page investigation into what happened, as well as briefings for family members of those who were slain in the ambush near the Nigerien village of Tongo Tongo near the Mali border.
Initially, the US and Nigerien forces were ambushed just 100 meters, about the length of an American football field, from Tongo Tongo, as they were leaving.through a woods. A small group broke off to break the siege, but were stopped by a lake and eventually retreated for fear of being out-flanked.
After taking casualties, forces regrouped by a swamp, where they wrote what they thought were their final messages to their loved…