US Soldier Killed on Somalia Mission

Navy SEAL killed while fighting militants in Somalia. The U.S. forces were conducting an advise and assist mission with Somali army members.

Navy SEAL killed while fighting militants in Somalia
A US Navy SEAL has been killed during an operation targeting the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia. (AFP Photo / Patrick Baz)


A member of the US military has been killed in Somalia, the first confirmed US combat death there since the 1993 disastrous Black Hawk Down incident. This happened on Thursday during operations against al-Shabab militants about 64km (40 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu, near the town of Barii, the US military says.

Two other US service members were hurt.

US forces were on an “advise and assist” mission with the Somali National Army, the US military says. American presidents have been wary of intervention in Somalia since 18 special forces soldiers died fighting militias in Mogadishu in 1993, a battle dramatised in the film Black Hawk Down.

However, President Donald Trump has expanded military action against the al-Qaeda affiliate in the Horn of Africa nation.

US Africa Command spokeswoman Robyn Mack said the American “service member” had been struck by small arms fire. Two other members of the US military wounded in the same incident were receiving “proper medical attention”, she added.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a US Navy Seal had been killed, Reuters news agency reports.

In Thursday’s mission, US troops were hunting an al-Shabab commander near the Shabelle river, the news agency reports.

In March, Mr Trump approved a Pentagon plan to escalate operations against al-Shabab, including additional air strikes.

Last month, dozens of American soldiers were deployed to Mogadishu to train and equip Somali and African Union troops.

It was the first time regular US troops had been sent to Somalia since 1994, though some counter-terrorism advisers were already there.

Analysts say the soldier killed on Thursday would not have been one of the soldiers recently sent to Somalia.