Al Shabaab claims attack in which USA soldier died

Somalia is the easternmost point in the Horn of Africa

A US special-operations forces service member was killed and four others were wounded in Somalia Friday after they came under small-arms and mortar fire from suspected members of an al Qaeda affiliate, the Pentagon said.

According to the U.S. Africa Command, U.S. service members were with Somali forces in an operation aimed at clearing al-Shabab, a terrorist organization, from villages and establishing a permanent combat outpost.

U.S. forces were offering "advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission", U.S. Africa Command said, noting that the mission was created to increase the Somali government's ability to provide services to innocent civilians under al-Shabab rule.

Four other US soldiers and a Somali soldier were wounded in what appears to have been an ambush near the town of Jamaame, US defence officials added. A fourth servicemember suffered injuries minor enough to receive sufficient medical care in the field, AFRICOM said.

One member of the "partner forces" was wounded along with four other United States troops. The last killing of a USA service member in Somalia was in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles west of Mogadishu, Stars and Stripes reported. The injured service members were medevaced to Djibouti, where US Africa Command (AFRICOM) maintains its Camp Lemonnier base.

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The U.S. had pulled out of the Horn of Africa nation after 1993, when two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and bodies of Americans were dragged through the streets.

The statement said the mission's objectives were to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas, liberate villages from al-Shabaab control, and establish a permanent outposts created to increase the span of Federal Government of Somalia security and governance.

The U.S. military and others have expressed concern about the 21,000-strong AU force's plan to withdraw by 2020 and hand over security responsibilities to Somali forces, saying the local troops are not ready.

Somali officials have said civilians have been killed in more than one joint USA military operation with Somali forces.

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. A Pentagon investigation of the incident produced a highly critical report.

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