Africa News

US Navy SEAL killed, two others wounded, in operation against Al-Shabaab in Somalia

One US special operations service member was killed in a operation against Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab in Somalia, the US military's Africa Command said

A US special operations service member was killed on May 4 in an operation against Al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab in Somalia, the US military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement on Friday, May 5.

According to Pentagon sources, the dead service member was a Navy SEAL, the first US combat death in Somalia since 1993, when 18 Army Rangers were killed in the notorious ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident in Mogadishu.

Update: The US Department of Defense said in a May 6 statement that Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine, was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab. The statement said Milliken was in support of a Somali National Army-led operation with US Africa Command.

According to reports, two other SEALs and an interpreter were injured.

AFRICOM said US forces were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army near Barii (which should read Bariire), approximately 40 miles (64km) west of Mogadishu.

However, the Associated Press and local journalists reported the US forces and Somali commandos were inserted by helicopters near an al-Shabaab base.

Some journalists reported that the target was al-Shabaab’s Radio Andalus media outlet, and residents say the station is still on air. Others reported that the Radio Andalus incident did not involve US forces.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said on Friday that US forces were helping to bring Somali military forces to a target compound used to plan attacks on nearby US and Somali facilities. The forces came under fire in the early phase of the mission. No strikes were conducted and the attackers were quickly neutralised, Davis said.

Davis said all US military operations in Somalia are conducted in agreement with Somali government.

Update May 7: According to multiple reports, the Somali government said Moalim Osman Abdi Badil, al-Shabaab’s leader in the Lower Shabelle region, was killed in the joint US/Somali raid.

Around 50 US special operations forces have been deployed to Somalia since about 2013, Davis said. According to Military Times, these forces are embedded with Somali tactical units, working with local troops to target al-Shabaab.

Separately, dozens of US troops from the 101st Airborne Division were deployed to Mogadishu on April 2 to bolster a small contingent already in the country working to train and equip Somali and AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) forces.

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