US lawmakers demand answers on Niger operation

US senators said on Sunday the White House has not been forthcoming with details about the military's presence in Niger after the deaths of four soldiers there earlier this month and they want more answers on US operations in the west African countryVIDEO: REUTERS

UNITED STATES (REUTERS) - With funerals over the weekend for US soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger, lawmakers demanded answers from the White House about how and why they died.

On Sunday (Oct 22), two US senators pushing for more information from the Pentagon about the military’s presence in West Africa, and the ambush that killed four servicemen earlier this month.

"I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger. This is an endless war without boundaries and no limitation on time and geography," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC’s meet the press.

"We need to look at this carefully. This is a brave new world. There are no set battle plans," Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said in a separate interview.

Both lawmakers said Congress needs more information about what could become a long and open-ended mission. They join Republican Senator John McCain’s effort to get answers from the Department of Defence about America’s fight in Niger.

Questions about America’s military operations abroad coming as President Donald Trump continued to stoke a feud over the dead troops at home.

On Sunday, he again attacked a Democratic lawmaker who criticised a condolence call he made to one of the fallen soldiers’ wives.

“I was in the car when the president called,” US democratic representative Frederica Wilson said.

She said Trump’s comments to the widow of La David Johnson deeply upset the woman, particularly when the president told her that Johnson, "knew what he signed up for".

“How insensitive can you be?” added Wilson

Trump denied the claims, “didn’t say what that Congresswoman said. Didn’t say it at all".

Sergeant La David Johnson was a Green Beret killed near the border with Niger and Mali in what US officials suspect was an ambush carried out by an Islamic State affiliate.