Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four American soldiers killed after an ambush in Niger last month, was found with his hands tied after having apparently been executed by militants, villagers say. Tongo Tongo resident Adamou Boubacar tells the Washington Post that children found Johnson's body two days after the ambush. He says the soldier's hands were bound with rope and there was a gaping wound in the back of his head that could have been caused by a bullet. Boubacar, a farmer, says the body was found in a bushy area about a mile from the ambush site, which could explain why it took so long for it to be discovered, the New York Daily News reports.
Village chief Mounkaila Alassane says he contacted the Nigerien military after seeing the body, "The back of his head was a mess, as if they had hit him with something hard, like a hammer," Alassane tells the Post. "They took his shoes. He was wearing only socks." Military sources say they believe Johnson was kidnapped during a firefight with ISIS-linked militants. The bodies of the other three Americans killed were found in or near their team's pickup truck, stripped of their uniforms, villagers say. The FBI has joined military investigators trying to determine how the US mission went so badly wrong. Officials in Niger say Alassane was arrested on suspicion of aiding the militants, but released due to a lack of evidence. (US officials say a morphed mission put the men in danger.)