U.S. commando killed, four injured in Somalia attack

Frederick Owens
June 10, 2018

US Special Forces on a training mission in southern Somalia came under mortar and small arms fire from insurgent forces in the region, AFP and the New York Times reported, citing Defense Department officials. In addition, the US had armed surveillance aircraft overhead.

USA troops with Somali and Kenyan forces came under mortar and small-arms fire and one "partner force member" also was wounded in the attack about 217 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, the us military said.

Militants affiliated with al-Shabab have threatened to conduct attacks against the United States, and the US military has said the group poses a direct threat to USA interests and allies in the region.

The attack occurred in Jubaland, where a large force comprising about 800 Somali, Kenyan and U.S. troops were working to clear a large area of Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabaab fighters. The last killing of a US service member in Somalia was in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Mogadishu.

The names of the soldiers have not been released while the USA notifies next of kin.

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

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"This attack comes just as the USA military and the White House are reconsidering whether there should be as many special forces, not just in Somalia but in sub-Saharan Africa, because Washington is looking at trying to perhaps shore up its defences in other parts of the world where they see some sort of security threat from Russian Federation and China", she added.

U.S. President Donald Trump expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased soldier in a tweet. 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.

Another U.S. service member in Somalia was killed in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles west of Mogadishu. Since 2007, Al-Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia.

Mostly composed of special operators such as Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders, the United States forces in Somalia have conducted frequent raids and drone strikes on Shabaab training camps throughout Somalia.

Since being pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, the group has lost control of most of Somalia's cities and towns.

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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