U.S. African Command said today that a U.S. service member was killed Thursday in a clash with Al-Shabaab about 40 miles west of Mogadishu, Somalia, the first U.S. military death there in 11 years.
In a statement, AFRICOM said U.S. forces “were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army” near Barii.
“Al-Shabaab presents a threat to Americans and American interests. Al Shabaab’s affiliate, al-Qaeda has murdered Americans; radicalizes and recruits terrorists and fighters in the United States; and attempts to conduct and inspire attacks against Americans, our allies and our interests around the world, including here at home,” the statement added without giving any further details on the attack or the service member.
“U.S. forces are assisting partner forces to counter al-Shabaab in Somalia to degrade the al-Qaeda affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America,” AFRICOM added. “We continue to support our Somali and regional partners to systematically dismantle this al-Qaeda affiliate, and help them to achieve stability and security throughout the region as part of the global counterterrorism effort.”
It’s the fourth U.S. service member death in the past week, with two killed in Afghanistan late last week and one killed in Iraq over the weekend.
Local media reported that U.S. Special Forces in two helicopters began clashing with Al-Shabaab after midnight and the fighting lasted about 10 minutes. Two U.S. service members were also wounded along with a Somali translator.
An Al-Shabaab spokesman claimed there were a “number of enemy killed and others have been injured, ammunition and troops have captured.”
A February issue of Al-Shabaab’s magazine Gaidi Mtaani called on jihadists to emulate the British converts who murdered a soldier on a Woolwich street in 2013, along with a poem warning that jihadists would be “marching” to Maine.