A US special-operations forces service member was killed and four others were wounded in Somalia Friday after they came under small-arms and mortar fire from suspected members of an al Qaeda affiliate, the Pentagon said.
The attack marks the first known combat death of a United States service member in Africa since the October 4 ambush of USA and Nigerien forces which claimed the lives of four American troops and five Nigeriens. "The U.S. provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission".
The incident happened Friday afternoon as U.S. service members came under mortar and small arms fire while accompanying some 800 Somali and Kenyan troops in Jubaland, Somalia, roughly 350 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.
One US service member reportedly received sufficient medical care at the scene and three others were transported out of the area to receive treatment.
Somali officials have said civilians have been killed in more than one joint us military operation with Somali forces. There are now 500 troops stationed in Somalia fighting Islamic terrorism, but there could be more due to shadow wars. The injured service members were medevaced to Djibouti, where US Africa Command (AFRICOM) maintains its Camp Lemonnier base. "Names are being withheld pending next of kin notification".
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US President Donald Trump offered his condolences via Twitter. The group was blamed for a truck bombing in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people and raised concerns about its ability to build larger explosives.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somolia [sic]". Since 2007, Al-Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia. Previous year there was also an incident in Mali in which two SEAL Team Six operators allegedly murdered a Green Beret on an embassy compound, reportedly over fears that he would expose a money laundering scheme that the SEALs were running.
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.
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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