Niger officials are disputing the US’s version of the mission in which 4 American soldiers died

    Nigerien officials are disputing the US’s account of the mission last month in which four American soldiers were killed. A Nigerien officer told ABC News that he asked for more soldiers and weapons before the raid. The leader of the American team reportedly expressed concern that a second team was unable to join the mission later in the day.

Senior Nigerien officials are disputing the US’s public account of the deadly October mission in which four American soldiers were killed, according to a new ABC News report.

The Nigerien officials said the raid – described publicly by Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as a “reconnaissance mission” – was a “kill or capture” raid from the start.

Anonymous US officials have previously told ABC News, and repeated in this latest report, that the mission started out as reconnaissance but shifted to “kill or capture” when a new objective was tacked on.

A US Army Special Forces weapons sergeant training Nigerien soldiers in Diffa, Niger, in March.

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A US Army Special Forces weapons sergeant training Nigerien soldiers in Diffa, Niger, in March.
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Zayid Ballesteros/US Army

Nigerien sources also told Voice of America that US troops were tracking down an ISIS-affiliated target.

There is also disagreement over the perceived safety of the mission. A Nigerien officer told ABC News that he asked for more soldiers and weapons before the raid but that the request was rejected by the Americans.

Additionally, ABC News said the mission went ahead after the leader of the American team expressed concern that a second team was unable to join the raid later in the day.

Asked why US troops were accompanying Nigerien forces, Dunford said at a Pentagon press conference that US forces would “only accompany partner forces when the chances of enemy contact are unlikely.”

At least one Nigerien official said the kill-or-capture part of the mission brought the US-Nigerien team to the Niger-Mali border – which ABC News described as “a dangerous area known to locals as the ‘red zone.'” ABC News also noted that the US State Department recently warned about activity in the area.