Somalia: U.S. Soldier Killed in Al-Shabaab Attack Near Kismayu

Witnesses said the attack took place near the town of Sanguni, where the USA and Somali troops were digging trenches and setting up other defenses. "They are truly all HEROES", he tweeted.

There are about 500 USA troops in Somalia on an advise and assist mission to help the Somali military in its fight against al Shabab, an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said the incident took place during a joint operation in Jubaland in southern Somalia conducted by combined Somali National Security Forces (SNSF), Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) and the U.S. special forces.

Still, the US has made several changes in the way its forces have been operating in Africa, the result of an investigation into an October 2017 ambush of USA special operations forces in Niger that left four Americans and four Nigeriens dead. US forces provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

Three U.S. service members and the wounded partner force service member were medically evacuated to receive additional treatment, officials said.

The US casualties are the first confirmed in Somalia since May 2017 when one soldier was killed and two others wounded in a gun battle with al-Shabab west of Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab, linked to al-Qaida, seeks to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.

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Since being pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, the group has lost control of most of Somalia's cities and towns, but it retains a strong presence in regions outside the capital.

Al Shabab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia since 2007.

Associated Press video on Friday showed Somali forces firing weapons from atop pickup trucks in a muddy rural area, and an unidentified US soldier speaking with local residents.

A U.S. Africa Command statement says the four wounded are now in the care of the U.S. Embassy medical team in neighboring Kenya.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack and said they killed 40 Somali soldiers.

But U.S. military officials said this week that no decision had been made.

  • Megan Austin