U.S. soldier killed in al-Shabab ambush in Somalia

Sergio Conner
June 11, 2018

At least one US special forces soldier was killed and four US service members were wounded after an enemy attack in Jubaland, Somalia, according to a statement from US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

US President Donald Trump offered his condolences on Twitter.

Al-Shabab claimed credit for the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group said in a statement Friday.

More than 500 American forces are working with the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) and Somali national security forces in counterterrorism operations, and have conducted frequent raids and drone strikes on Al Shabab training camps throughout Somalia. USA forces provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

The troops had been on a mission to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas as well as villages the militants controlled, "and establish a permanent combat outpost" to expand the reach of the Somali state, the US military's Africa Command said in a statement.

It was the first known U.S. combat death in Africa since an ambush in Niger in October, the New York Times reports.

This was the first public announcement of a US military combat death in Africa since four USA service members were killed in a militant ambush in the West African nation of Niger in October.

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

Al-Shabab, Africa's most-feared militant group which has links to al-Qaeda, still controls large parts of land in southern Somalia.

"There has been no direction at this time to adjust force size in AFRICOM [U.S. Africa Command]", said Pentagon spokeswoman Major Sheryll Klinkel.

The U.S. military and others have expressed concern about the 21,000-strong AU force's plan to withdraw by 2020 and hand over security responsibilities to Somali forces, saying the local troops are not ready.

Last May, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed near the village of Dar es Salam in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, the first U.S. casualty in the country since 1993's Black Hawk Down incident.

A Defense Department official told CBS News the attack was by the al Shabaab terror group. The U.S. military said its personnel had provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

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