By REGINA SÁNCHEZ JIMÉNEZ
It has been a month since the killing of four American and five Nigerien soldiers in the village of Tongo Tongo in Nigeria by terrorist groups of the region. The patrol, composed of 30 soldiers, was conducting a routine reconnaissance mission when the soldiers were entrusted other mission. They sought to capture one of the main targets of the U.S., in Niger, a man of the ISIS.
The patrol didn’t find its objective so it headed to the base. On the way, the soldiers were ambushed by a group of approximately 50 people and probably associated with ISIS. There were four victims of the U.S. Army, Sgts. Bryan C. Black, Jeremiah W. Johnson, Dustin M. Wright and La David T. Johnson.
This last death has created controversy because the body of the La David T. Johnson was recovered two days after the attack and a mile away from the crime scene. Also, Donald Trump’s condolences to the widow of the sergeant have been described as insensitive and disrespectful.
The American troops were sent to Niger in 2013 to help French Army to stop the rise of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS or Boko Haram. There are 800 American soldiers assigned to Niger.
The U.S. troops are not permitted direct action against the enemy. So, the Pentagon is investigating if there was any change in the mission entrusted.
While official sources try to clarify everything, a CNN reporter, Arwa Damon, has traveled to Tongo Tongo, to find the truth.
Our latest … Exclusive: Inside Niger's ambush zone, fear and questions remain @CNNAfrica https://t.co/qAt5Of5QS3
— Arwa Damon (@arwaCNN) October 31, 2017
She described the landscape to make it easier to understand how the ambush was held. In her article, she describes her purpose as “looking for answers to the many questions that continue to churn around the attack”. She talked with first-hand sources, another great journalist’s practice.
As she was exposed, she didn’t have enough time to investigate deeper. But everything she told gives us clues of how could be the battle.
Heavy caliber machine gun casings outside of tongo tongo village where US and #Niger troops ambushed oct 4. Our report airing soon pic.twitter.com/MsSUUFDpEt
— Arwa Damon (@arwaCNN) October 30, 2017
While the government could be interested in hiding part of the truth, a great practice of a journalist, as carry out fieldwork and talk with first-hand sources, allows us to know more about the situation in Tongo Tongo.
.@arwaCNN spoke to a Nigerien soldier who witnessed the ambush of US soldiers https://t.co/wGjSW0eSmH https://t.co/J2sJikKP3U
— New Day (@NewDay) October 27, 2017
It’s important that journalists don’t wait in their offices to write stories from just an official statement. Journalists have to be suspect of everything, find out the truth themselves, never confine themselves to official sources and try to have a first-hand story to tell their audience.