It has emerged that United States forces almost invaded Nigeria in an unauthorized fashion in 2020 during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
The development recently came to light in a new book authored by two reporters from the Washington Post.
The near-invasion occurred while the US Navy SEAL Team 6 was carrying out a mission to free a 27-year-old American kidnapped by Boko Haram, the Independent reports. The book titled: In I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year, was written by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
The book describes a chaotic scene when US special forces descended upon Nigeria in an effort to rescue Philip Walton; the son of an American missionary. Walton had been kidnapped at his home by armed Boko Haram in neighboring Niger Republic. However, the US operatives had had to suspend their mission on their way to extract the kidnap victim.
This came after they learnt that a White House aide; Kash Patel, had been mistaken in his assertion that the Nigerian government; under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, had approved the mission. At this point, the Nigerian government had not even been warned about the impending US incursion to rescue the victim.
The victim had been taken from Niger Republic down to a remote compound in Nigeria’s North.
However, The Independent reports that the mission resumed after permission was obtained from the Nigerian government; with the medium stating that the incident showed how close the US came to launching an unauthorized strike against militants in a foreign country.
“The mission had to be paused until the Nigerian government signed off. American forces had come very close to a technical invasion of a foreign country,” the authors wrote.
According to the book, White House aide, Patel was not aiuthorised to get in contact with foreign governments to notify them of operations in their territory. But the book stated that such processes had broken down in the final months of former Trump’s administration.
Trump reportedly approved the military action while Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo was overseas. Also, the report says National Security Adviser, Robert O’Brien was out of town; while Defence Secretary, Mark Esper had yet to discuss the matter with the president, the book claims.
In the ensuing confusion, Mr Patel had erroneously assured senior officials involved in the process that the Nigerian government had been notified.