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Soldier killed, four wounded in Somalia operation

10 June 2018

A US Department of Defence (DoD) representative said one US solider was killed.

An American special operations soldier was killed on Friday in an attack in southern Somalia that also wounded four United States military personnel along with a Somali soldier, a U.S. defence official told AFP.

The statement says, "One of the wounded USA service members received sufficient medical care in the field".

A US special operations soldier was killed in Somalia on Friday and four other USA service members were wounded, marking the first time an American has died in action in Africa since four USA soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger late a year ago.

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The coalition force was conducting a "multi-day operation" to clear al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, from nearby villages.

The roughly 500 USA troops in Somalia are mostly composed of a number of Special Operations units, including Army Green Berets, Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs spread across the country.

As noted by the New York Times, "in the past two months, Shabab militants have claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed more than 150 people, including Kenyan soldiers stationed at a remote desert outpost and beachcombers in Mogadishu".

But President Donald Trump in early 2017 approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, leading to an increase in USA military personnel to more than 500 and the launch of dozens of drone strikes. It was pushed out of Mogadishu in recent years but continues to control rural areas in the south and central regions.

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The American forces were operating alongside Somali troops. The mission's objectives were to clear al-Shabab terrorists from contested areas, liberate villages from al-Shabab control, and establish a permanent combat outpost created to increase the span of Federal Government of Somalia security and governance, officials said.

The US troops were on a training mission with local Somali and Kenyan forces when the attack occurred.

Names are being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, officials said in a statement, adding that the command's thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the service members.

A USA military report on that incident publicized by the Pentagon last month without being fully released found that multiple individual and institutional failures left the US troops vulnerable to the ambush.

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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.

Soldier killed, four wounded in Somalia operation