Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

US Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation

Ellis Copeland | 07 May, 2017, 15:04

The victim, a member of the Navy SEAL was killed and two other American service members were wounded in a raid in Somalia on Friday, the first American combat fatality there since the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" battle with Somali fighters.

The soldier died on Thursday (4 May) during an operation against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic fundamentalists 40 miles west of the capital, Mogadishu.

The servicemember may have been the first American to die in combat in Somalia since 1993, when casualties from the well-publicized "Black Hawk Down" incident prompted President Bill Clinton to pull USA troops out of the country.

A Somali military official in Mogadishu told Somaliupdate Online that a joint forces of U.S and Somalia's elite forces of Gaashaan were on operation to purse Al-Shabab militant commanders when the army who used a military helicopter landed the ground and were ambushed by the militant fighters on Thursday. "This is part of an ongoing mission there to degrade this al-Qaida's affiliate's ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in the United States".

Milliken was working in support of a Somali National Army-led operation with U.S. Africa Command against al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab has lost ground to the Somali government and its global partners in recent months, but still controls some 10 percent of the country and regularly conducts raids against military and civilian targets.

The militants were "associated with some attacks on facilities that we use and that our Somali partners use nearby", said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

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The U.S. military has acknowledged the problem. "Two other U.S. service members were wounded in the incident", she said. They have served as trainers and advisers to African Union and Somali government forces, and have sometimes participated directly in combat. "After fighting, the US forces ran away", said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab's military operation spokesman. Al Shabab is also regularly targeted by American airstrikes.

A U.S military man has been murdered in Somalia which is the first American death for more than two decades.

A Somali intelligence official said USA forces killed at least six people during the raid on a building housing the al Shabab group's Andalus radio station.

The incident comes just weeks after the Trump administration designated parts of Somalia an "area of active hostilities", making it easier for US commanders to act against the al Qaeda-linked group without White House approval.

According to the Pentagon, there are about 50 American military personnel in Somalia, a lot of them special operations forces based in the capital city of Mogadishu.

A force of 50 USA troops is tasked with partnering with the Somali army, and additional forces come and go for shorter periods of time.

In the past, al-Shabab has exaggerated the number of soldiers it has killed during clashes.

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