WASHINGTON – One U.S. special operations soldier was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded in an "enemy attack" Friday in Somalia, the U.S. military said -- casualties that are likely to put renewed scrutiny on America's counterterrorism operations in Africa. It was the first public announcement of a U.S. military combat death on the continent since four U.S. service members were killed in a militant ambush in the west African nation of Niger in October. President Donald Trump paid tribute on Twitter on Friday night, offering "thoughts and prayers" to the families of the soldier who was killed and those who were wounded. "They are truly all HEROES," he tweeted. U.S. Africa Command said in a statement that U.S. troops with Somali and Kenyan forces came under mortar and small-arms fire in Jubaland, Somalia, at around 2:45 p.m.
WASHINGTON – One U.S. special operations soldier was killed and four U.S. service members wounded in an "enemy attack" Friday in Somalia, the U.S. military said -- casualties that are likely to put renewed scrutiny on America's counterterror operations in Africa. It's the first public announcement of a U.S. military combat death on the continent since four U.S. service members were killed in a militant ambush in the west African nation of Niger in October. U.S. Africa Command said in a statement that U.S. troops with Somali and Kenyan forces came under mortar and small-arms fire in Jubaland, Somalia, at around 2.45 p.m. local time. One member of the "partner forces" was wounded. One of the wounded U.S. service members received sufficient medical care in the field, and the other three were medically evacuated for additional treatment.
A group of nongovernmental organisations called on the Trump administration to clarify its policy on drone use, saying they are concerned about reported changes to US rules and a lack of transparency in the decision-making process. "We are deeply concerned that the reported new policy, combined with this administration's reported dramatic increase in lethal operations in Yemen and Somalia, will add to an increase in unlawful killings and in civilian casualties," a joint statement said. The organisations include Amnesty International, the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU and others. President Donald Trump signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act in December. The act funds the US military but also requires Trump to make known to Congress any changes to previous drone policies by March 12.
The U.S. military has carried out 32 airstrikes this year against the Somalia-based al-Shabab and a small but growing presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State group. The Trump administration early this year approved expanded military operations against extremists in the Horn of Africa nation, as the Trump administration puts counterterrorism at the top of its foreign policy agenda for Africa.
The Islamic extremist group, the deadliest in Africa, has been targeted this year by nearly 30 U.S. military drone strikes after the Trump administration approved expanded operations against it and declared the southern part of the Horn of Africa nation a zone of active hostilities. The U.S. now has more than 500 military personnel in Somalia.
The United States military said Saturday it has carried out a new drone strike against the Shabab extremist group in Somalia, killing "several" militants. A statement by the U.S. Africa Command said the strike was carried out Friday night in Lower Shabelle region, about 20 miles north of the capital, Mogadishu. It came a day after another strike in the Bay Region, about 100 miles west of Mogadishu. Friday's airstrike was the 23rd the U.S. military has carried out this year against the Al Qaeda-linked Shabab and the far smaller Islamic State group in Somalia. The Trump administration earlier this year approved expanded military operations against extremists in the Horn of Africa nation.
The U.S. military carried out another round of drone strikes in Somalia Wednesday. A trio of drone strikes hit the Al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab terror group killed six militants, U.S. Africa Command announced. The strikes took place 160 miles south of the capital, Mogadishu. They came after two separate drones strikes last week. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers have returned to Somalia for the first time since the "Black Hawk Down" incident in the early 1990s.