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No arrests, attackers not ID’d in assault of Ft. Bliss woman soldier at Afghan camp

UPDATE, Sept. 30: Federal authorities are still investigating the recent assault on a female service member by three to four Afghan men at a Fort Bliss shelter complex, according to Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command.

VanHerck told the Associated Press on Thursday that so far no one has been arrested or charged in that incident, and officials are still trying to identify the men.

A prior Fort Bliss statement said the assault happened Sept. 19 at the Doña Ana County Range Complex. Officials have indicated the soldier escaped her assailants with minor physical injuries and they added that the assault was not sexual.

The FBI has been investigating the incident, while Fort Bliss said it strengthened security measures in the complex following the attack.

ORIGINAL REPORT, Sept. 24: DONA ANA COUNTY, New Mexico -- The FBI is investigating the assault of a female Fort Bliss soldier by several male Afghan refugees at the Army's Doña Ana Complex camp where thousands are currently being housed, officials told ABC-7 on Friday.

“We can confirm a female service member supporting Operation Allies Welcome reported being assaulted on Sept. 19 by a small group of male evacuees at the Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico," said Lt. Col. Allie Payne, director of Public Affairs for Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division.

She said the assaulted soldier had received medical care and counseling. In the wake of the attack, Payne said additional security measures - including improved lightning - were being implemented at the Doña Ana Complex

"We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Payne indicated.

Payne declined to provide additional details about the incident because of the FBI probe, referring further questions to them.

Special Agent Jeanette Harper of the FBI's El Paso division confirmed that "we received the referral from Fort Bliss and our office is investigating the allegation.” She didn't elaborate.

But sources with knowledge of the case told ABC-7 that the soldier was attacked around midnight last Sunday by at least three Afghan men near her car after she arrived at the complex for duty.

The assault wasn't sexual in the nature, the sources said, adding that the woman soldier's injuries didn't require hospitalization and she was physically doing fine as of now.

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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