Somalia’s al Shabaab claims attack in which US soldier died

Special Operations Command

Special Operations Command

At least one American and two Somalia National Army troops were on Friday evening killed in an ambush by militant group Al-Shabaab in Bar Sanguni 45km from the Southern coastal town of Kismayu, Radio Dalsan reports.

President Donald Trump on Friday offered his condolences after the Somalia attack.

But Trump in early 2017 approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, leading to an increase in US military personnel to more than 500 and the launch of dozens of drone strikes.

It was the first public announcement of a US military combat death in Africa since four USA service members were killed in a militant ambush in the West African nation of Niger in October.

The US commando's death on Friday was the US military's first fatality in Africa since four soldiers were killed in ambush in Niger last October.

Trump's tweet came just a few hours after the military officials reported the Special Operations agent's death, stating that one other service member had been wounded in an enemy attack.

"Three U.S. service members and the one partner force wounded were medically evacuated to receive additional treatment", Africom said in a statement issued on Friday night.

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"The combined Somali National Security Forces (SNSF), Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) and USA force came under mortar and small-arms fire at approximately 2:45 p.m. Mogadishu time, killing one US service member and injuring four US service members and one partner force member", said the statement.

The U.S. has about 1,000 special operations personnel in Africa.

American military officials worry that the group is growing once more, even after losing much of its territory in Somalia in recent years and being targeted by American drone strikes.

In 2011, the armed group was pushed out of the capital, Mogadishu, by Somali troops backed by hundreds of soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) after months of deadly street battles.

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.

Another U.S. servicemember in Somalia was killed in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles west of Mogadishu.

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.

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