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Mother of U.S. soldier killed in Niger accuses Pentagon of lying

"To be told seven different stories, it really hurts me."

by Alexa Liautaud
Dec 19 2017, 1:23am

The mother of one of the four U.S. soldiers killed during an October ambush in Niger says the Pentagon lied about the details of her son’s death.

Her son, 25-year-old Army Sgt. La David Johnson, was one of four Green Berets who were killed on a patrol with Nigerian security forces when they were attacked by militants. The other soldiers’ bodies were recovered immediately, but Sgt. Johnson’s body was found two days after the attack, prompting a host of rumors about whether he had been kidnapped before he was executed.

"It hurts me because La David honored his job," Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson told CNN. "And to be told seven different stories, it really hurts me."

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that a military investigation found Johnson died while fleeing the attack with two Nigerian soldiers. He fired back, but was shot as many as 18 times while taking cover in the dense forest where the attack began. The report, according to the AP, refutes any suggestion he was shot at close range or captured.

Jones-Johnson told CNN she just wants closure which has so far eluded her thanks to the Pentagon’s handling of the situation.

“I want the truth,” Jones-Johnson said. “If they would've just told us the truth behind the situation from day one, we won't even be sitting here because we would have closure and we can move on from this.”

Johnson’s sister, Richshama Johnson, also on CNN said they were forced to learn about developments in the investigation through social media.

“They haven’t explained it to us. We find out everything via social media,”Johnson said. “They haven’t talked to our family about where was his whereabouts, they haven’t briefed us the proper way like they were supposed to.”

The Pentagon’s fact finding investigation into the attack is complete, but the full report is still in the works, according to multiple officials who spoke to CNN anonymously.