Thursday, 21 June, 2018

US Soldier Killed, 4 Wounded in Battle Against Militants 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
Sammy Stanley | 09 June, 2018, 04:56

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.

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.

The coalition forces were conducting a "multi-day operation" to clear al-Shabaab - an Islamist militant group - from villages and establish a "permanent combat outpost" around 217 miles southwest of Mogadishu.

The terrorist group al-Shabaab, the local al-Qaeda affiliate, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The role of U.S. troops during the operation was to provide aerial surveillance and to provide other assistance to the coalition group.

The United States has about 500 troops in the country, according to U.S. officials, many of them special operations soliders such as Navy SEALs and U.S. Army Green Berets. The injured service members were medevaced to Djibouti, where US Africa Command (AFRICOM) maintains its Camp Lemonnier base.

President Donald Trump called the soldiers heroes Friday night.

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Al-Shabab, which is fighting to impose Shariah law across Somalia, was pushed out of the capital, Mogadishu, and other major urban cities more than two years ago.

AFRICOM said the mission that resulted in the death of a us commando was created to increase the local government's ability to provide government services "to innocent civilians living under al-Shabab's rule".

"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.

The October attack in Niger raised questions in Washington about the USA military presence across Africa as the Trump administration focuses counterterror efforts on a range of groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

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 investigation has already triggered changes in the way military activities are carried out in Niger and elsewhere in Africa, including giving teams the option to use heavily armored vehicles and beefed-up firepower.

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