U.S. Special-Operations Member Killed in Somalia

A convoy of armored troop carrying vehicles provided by the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State drive to the Uganda People’s Defence Force compound Mogadishu International Airport Somalia Sept. 25 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard  Tech

US military service member killed in Somalia attack

One U.S. special operations soldier was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded in an attack in Somalia on Friday, June 8, 2018.

It's the first public announcement of a US military combat death on the continent since four USA service members were killed in a militant ambush in the west African nation of Niger in October.

A US special operations forces soldier was killed and four were wounded on Friday in a gun battle against likely al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, said a USA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The incident occurred on Friday afternoon local-time.

AFRICOM is withholding the name of the servicemember killed in action, pending notification of next of kin.

Somali officials have said civilians have been killed in more than one joint USA military operation with Somali forces.

The forces were also setting up "a permanent combat outpost" to help expand the Somali government's control over the region, where the jihadist insurgency for years has destabilized the east African nation, particularly in rural areas.

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Over the past year, American military officials have expressed new concerns about the Shabab, which was responsible for one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on African soil when it struck a popular mall in Nairobi in 2013.

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

Although one of the wounded Americans did not receive additional care after being treated in the field, the other three and the wounded local soldier were medically evacuated for follow-up care.

A large force of about 800 troops from the Somalian and Kenyan defense forces took part in the operation, which was a multi-day mission some 400 miles southwest of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

A USA surveillance aircraft was also flying overhead during the incident according to two United States officials.

Last year, a Navy SEAL was killed in a nighttime attack in Somalia, marking the first USA military combat death there since the infamous "Black Hawk Down" events of 1993, when 18 American servicemen died in the Battle of Mogadishu.

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"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somolia (sic)", he tweeted. That was believed to be the first death of a U.S. troop in Somalia since the infamous 1993 Black Hawk Down disaster.

Trump approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab in early 2017, leading to an increase in US military personnel to more than 500 and the launch of dozens of drone strikes.

It was also a 3rd Special Forces Group team which was hit in Niger previous year, an ambush which killed four American soldiers and led to a massive investigation by the Pentagon.

A US military report on that incident publicized by the Pentagon last month without being fully released found that multiple individual and institutional failures left the USA troops vulnerable to the ambush. The US said no civilians were killed during the strikes.

"We are now far more prudent", Waldhauser said.

Al-Shabab claimed credit for the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group said in a statement Friday. The operation aimed to drive out the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab from contested areas.

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