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United States Government Has A $5 Million Reward For Intel On Tongo Tongo Attackers

United States Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program has an offer of 5 million dollars for perpetrators of an ambush in Niger that led to the death American and Nigerien soldiers.

The United States (U.S) Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program has a $5 million reward for information on perpetrators of the 2017 Tongo Tongo ambush in Niger Republic. 

The terrorist organisation Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) claimed responsibility for the Oct. 2017 ambush of joint U.S.-Nigerien forces near the village of Tongo Tongo, which led to the deaths of four U.S. Green Berets and five Nigerien soldiers.

US personnel killed in the incident were Sgt. First Class Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Sgt. La David Johnson, assigned to Army Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3212 in Niger to train, advise, and assist Nigerien forces to fight terrorism.

“Rewards for Justice is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who bears responsibility for this act of terror,” Reward for Justice said.

Six Nigeriens, including two killed in the ambush, were reported to have been given U.S. medals for combat actions and valour. 

A military investigation into the incident involving the joint forces known as “Team Ouallam” found out that “individual, organisational and institutional failures” contributed to the ill-fated mission, which began on Oct .3. 

A Department of Defence report stated that On Oct. 3, 2017, Team OUALLAM left Camp Ouallam with Nigerien forces on a counter-terrorism (CT) operation in the vicinity of Tiloa, Niger, targeting a key member of ISIS-GS. 

“Before departing, Team OUALLAM did not conduct pre-mission rehearsals or battle drills with their partner force.”

It added that once in Tiloa, they were unable to locate the target, so Team OUALLAM and their partner Nigeriens continued to a military camp near Tiloa and conducted a key leader engagement with a partner force commander. 

When information that the IS-GS leader may have been located was passed up the chain of command, an airborne raid was planned with another team.

“Weather forced the second USSOF Team to abort the air assault and the SOCCE (special operations command and control element) and the commander subsequently ordered Team OUALLAM to execute the mission.”

“Following the raid, Team OUALLAM began their movement back to their home base. While returning to the base, Team OUALLAM’s partner Nigerien forces needed water so the convoy stopped near the village of Tongo Tongo to resupply.”

In the area, the Team OUALLAM commander conducted an impromptu Key Leader Engagement (KLE) with village leaders. 

“They departed the village and, at 1140 on 4 October 2017, Team OUALLAM and their partner Nigeriens were ambushed immediately south of Tongo Tongo by a large enemy force.”

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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