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09 June 2018, 03:10 | Erica Roy
The three wounded U.S. service members and the Kenyan soldier were evacuated by military aircraft and the United States troops are in "stable condition", receiving medical care outside of Somalia, according to one USA military official familiar with the operation.
In Somalia, U.S. forces working alongside Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defense Forces came under attack from mortar and small arms fire at about 2:45 p.m. local time, Africom said.
One member of the "partner forces" was also wounded.
One US service member received medical treatment in the field while the three other wounded service members were evacuated, the statement said.
Africa Command said the combined US, Somali and Kenyan force included some 800 troops and was part of a mission in the area tasked with setting up a permanent combat outpost when they came under attack.
"The population in the region had historically supported the government, and the Somali forces had prepared for this mission by coordinating heavily with and securing the support of local authorities ahead of time", U.S. Africa Command said.
A military official told AFP the dead American was a special operations commando, but further details were not being released pending notification of next of kin.
A U.S. surveillance aircraft was also flying overhead during the incident according to two United States officials.
The casualty, coming less than a year after the death in Niger of four Army special operations soldiers, could raise further questions about the presence of USA troops on remote missions in Africa.
A USA service member was killed Friday in southern Somalia, according to four United States military officials. The Americans train and support Somali troops and give them intelligence information to help in their campaign against al-Shabab, in addition to helping with surveillance and airstrikes.
The extent to which USA troops are assisting behind the scenes or fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with local troops has become a point of contention, not only in Somalia but also in other parts of the world where US forces are helping fight extremist groups by backing proxy forces. Though the Pentagon initially described Miliken as operating behind Somali troops, US officials later acknowledged that USA special operations soldiers had been fighting together with the Somali forces. The incident is the first known death of a USA servicemen in Africa since the ambush in Niger last October, CBS News' David Martin reported.
Waldhauser was briefing the press on the findings of an investigation into the Niger incident.
The attack also comes a little over a year since an early May, 2017 raid on an al-Shabaab compound that went awry, resulting in the death of one US Navy SEAL and injuries to two others.
"The mission's objectives were to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas, liberate villages from al-Shabaab control, and establish a permanent combat outpost created to increase the span of Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) security and governance", said the Africom statement.
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