A USA special forces soldier has been killed in an attack by suspected al-Shabab militants in south-western Somalia, officials say. One of the wounded USA service members received sufficient medical care in the field, and the other three were medically evacuated for additional treatment.
"One of the wounded U.S service members received sufficient medical care in the field".
The U.S. troops' role was to provide advice, assistance and aerial surveillance to the Somali and Kenyan forces as they cleared al-Shabaab militants from villages and established a combat outpost.
"The population in the region had historically supported the government, and the Somali forces had prepared for this mission by coordinating heavily with and securing the support of local authorities ahead of time", U.S. Africa Command said.
Africom withheld the names of those killed and injured until next of kin is notified. A year ago 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. Afterward, Africa Command revisited the protection that US troops in Africa on operations.
The extent to which USA troops are assisting behind the scenes or fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with local troops has become a point of contention, not only in Somalia but also in other parts of the world where US forces are helping fight extremist groups by backing proxy forces.
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Four other US soldiers and a Somali soldier were wounded in what appears to have been an ambush near the town of Jamaame, US defence officials added. It was unclear whether all 800 US, Kenyan and Somali troops were present when the attack took place.
It was also a 3rd Special Forces Group team which was hit in Niger a year ago, an ambush which killed four American soldiers and led to a massive investigation by the Pentagon.
Waldhauser was briefing the press on the findings of an investigation into the Niger incident.
The terrorist group al-Shabaab, the local al-Qaeda affiliate, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Militants affiliated with al-Shabab have threatened to conduct attacks against the United States, and the USA military has said the group poses a direct threat to US interests and allies in the region.
AFRICOM has conducted several airstrikes in Somalia recently, including a June 2 strike that killed 27 al-Shabaab militants southwest of Bosasso.
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