Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

US Soldier Killed, 4 Wounded in Battle Against Militants in Somalia

US Soldier Killed, 4 Wounded in Battle Against Militants in Somalia

"During an operation June 8, 2018, in Jubaland, Somalia, one U.S. Special Operations member was killed and four U.S. service members and one partner force was wounded as the result of an enemy attack", U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said in a statement.

The troops had been on a mission to clear al-Shabab from contested areas as well as villages the armed group's fighters controlled "and establish a permanent combat outpost" to expand the reach of the Somali state, the U.S. military's Africa Command said.

Witnesses said the attack took place near the town of Sanguni, while the US and Somali troops were digging trenches and setting up other defenses.

An American special operations soldier has been killed in an attack in Somalia that also wounded four other U.S. military personnel and one Somali soldier. One of the wounded USA service members received sufficient medical care in the field, and the other three were medically evacuated for additional treatment.

Local al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

That death was followed by an ugly confrontation between President Donald Trump, members of his staff and the widow of one of the soldiers killed.

There are now about 500 United States troops in Somalia who have been there since 2013 advising local forces battling the al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab.

A US Africa Command statement said the four were in the care of the US embassy in Kenya, awaiting transport "for additional medical evaluation".

The Pentagon is withholding the name of the fallen soldier pending next of kin notification. The US had pulled out of the country after 1993, when two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and bodies of Americans were dragged through the streets. The group was blamed for the truck bombing in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people and raised concerns about al-Shabaab's ability to build ever-larger explosives.

Friday's incident marked the first time a US service member has died in action in Somalia since Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a senior chief petty officer, was killed in May of a year ago in a firefight with al-Shabab militants. Some of al-Shabaab's top leaders have been killed in USA drone strikes, but its operations have continued in Somalia despite the resistance.

Since being pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, the group has lost control of most of Somalia's cities and towns, but it retains a strong presence in regions outside the capital. Since 2007, Al-Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia.

The U.S. has about 1,000 special operations personnel in Africa.

A Pentagon investigation into the Niger attack, parts of which were made public last month, found multiple failures but none that directly caused the ambush by Islamic State group-linked fighters.

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