It's the first public announcement of a USA military combat death on the continent since four US service members were killed in a militant ambush in the west African nation of Niger in October.
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. The incident occurred on Friday afternoon local-time.
The names of the soldiers have not been released while the USA notifies next of kin.
This is the first American death while in combat on the African continent since October. Afterward, Africa Command revisited the protection that US troops in Africa on operations.
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. "The overarching goal in Somalia for the Department of Defense is to help the [government] provide a safe and secure environment for the Somali population".
One US service member received medical treatment in the field while the three other wounded service members were evacuated, the statement said.
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The statement does not identify the attackers but says a larger force of Somalian and Kenyan troops were in an operation against al-Shabab. There are now 500 troops stationed in Somalia fighting Islamic terrorism, but there could be more due to shadow wars. They were awaiting transport "for additional medical evaluation".
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somolia".
That was believed to be the first death of a USA soldier in Somalia since the 1993 Black Hawk Down disaster. Though the Pentagon initially described Miliken as operating behind Somali troops, USA officials later acknowledged that US special operations soldiers had been fighting together with the Somali forces.
The US Special Forces team were from the 3rd Special Forces Group, whose area of responsibility is in Africa, were constructing a new forward operating base.
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.
Trump approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab in early 2017, leading to an increase in us military personnel to more than 500 and the launch of dozens of drone strikes. But the extremist group still carries out suicide attacks across Somalia.