US soldier killed in Somalia attack

"We attacked a military base ... killed one USA soldier, two Kenyan soldiers and nine Somali soldiers from Jubbaland state".

This was the first public announcement of a USA military combat death in Africa since four US servicemembers were killed in a militant ambush in the West African nation of Niger in October.

"Shabab al-Mujahedeen Movement fighters mounted a fierce attack in a military base of American and Somali forces", the report said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack and said they killed 40 Somali soldiers.

"Names are being withheld pending next of kin notification".

The US special operations forces were fighting alongside about 800 troops from the Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defence Forces when they were attacked about 2:45 p.m.by mortars and small arms fire.

Traditionally, US presidents have been wary of intervening in Somalia since 18 special forces soldiers died fighting militias in Mogadishu in 1993, a battle dramatised in the film Black Hawk Down.

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Washington has stepped up operations in the Horn of African nation in the past one year, killing a number of members of the militant group.

He said the attack was in the southern town of Kismayo. "We also injured four United States soldiers", Abdiasis Abu Musab said. The U.S. military said its personnel had provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

And at least in Niger, U.S. Africa Command's General Thomas Waldhauser said commanders had been ordered to be "far more prudent" about the missions that were approved.

About 500 US troops are deployed in Somalia.

That prudence included steps to make sure that US forces in Niger had access to more armored vehicles, additional firepower, and more drones for surveillance and reconnaissance.

During a seven-month investigation into the attack, led by officials from the Pentagon's Africa Command, the Special Operations general in charge of American commandos in Africa issued a series of orders that roughly mirrored the actions in Somalia, putting in place stringent guidelines to ensure that those on the ground had the proper support before leaving on a mission.


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