USA service member killed in Somalia

Author

09 May, 2017

Updated | A USA soldier has been killed during an operation targeting Al-Shabab in Somalia, the first American service member to be killed in the Horn of Africa country in more than 20 years.

"Those who knew Senior Chief Kyle Milliken remember him as an unbelievable athlete who could do flips on skis and run for miles".

A member of the United States Navy SEALs was killed in action during a raid in Somalia against the Islamic militant group known as al-Shabaab.

The militants were "associated with some attacks on facilities that we use and that our Somali partners use nearby", said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

The Pentagon said the soldier was on an advise and assist operation working with the Somali National Army looking for Al Shabaab operatives.

"We grieve his death, but we celebrate his life and many accomplishments", Syzmanksi said in a statement. "He was a devoted father and son, a true professional and a wonderful husband", it said. Two U.S. service members were also wounded along with a Somali translator.

Milliken's death marked the first American battlefield casualty in Somalia since the doomed "Black Hawk Down" mission in 1993 in which 18 American service members were killed in the capital of Mogadishu.

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A spokesman for al-Shabaab, which wants to overthrow the Western-backed Somali government and impose its own strict brand of Islamic law, said USA troops had attacked one of their bases, but that there were no Somali casualities.

The U.S.in recent years has sent a small number of special operations forces and counterterrorism advisers to Somalia and carried out a number of airstrikes, including drone strikes, against al-Shabab.

According to one official, there are about 50 American special forces now working with African Union Mission in Somalia and local national commandos as part of a "train and advise mission", and the US military has been moving in and out of Somalia since past year.

Somalia's new president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed last month declared a new offensive against al-Shabab, which is based in Somalia but has claimed responsibility for major attacks elsewhere in East Africa - including in neighbouring Kenya.

"Increased belligerence from some worldwide and national actors is not going to help us", Peter de Clercq, the United Nations' deputy special representative of the secretary-general in Somalia, told the Guardian last month.

The change would allow the US military authority to conduct offensive strikes and raids against al-Shabaab terrorists instead of waiting for them to attack local forces with whom USA forces may be embedded.

It is believed to be the first US combat death in the African country since the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" incident. Navy SEALs were advising Somali troops on the mission. "It is a victory for the Somali forces and peacemaking". Warsame is the deputy leader of al Shabaab and US authorities have offered $5 million for information that brings him to justice. "After fighting, the USA forces ran away", said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab's military operation spokesman.


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