Published On: Fri, May 5th, 2017

Pentagon says U.S. Military member killed in Somalia

A U.S. service member has been killed in Somalia in an operation against the militant group al-Shabab, the U.S. military said Friday.

The U.S. Africa Command says the service member was killed Thursday near Barii, about 40 miles west of the capital, Mogadishu. The statement says U.S. forces were conducting an advise-and-assist mission with Somalia’s military.

“U.S. forces are assisting partner forces to counter al-Shabaab in Somalia to degrade the al-Qaeda affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America,” the U.S. Africa Command says in a statement.

CNN reports that the the service member was part of a Special Operations team and that two others were wounded in what it called a small arms attack.

President Trump approved an expanded military role there some two decades after the U.S. largely pulled out following the shootdown of two helicopters in Mogadishu.  In the incident, the bodies of American service members were dragged through the streets.

Trump’s order of stepped up operations includes carrying out more aggressive air strikes against  al-Shabab and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. Africa Command statement says it is supporting Somalia and its regional partners “to systematically dismantle this al Qaeda affiliate, and help them to achieve stability and security throughout the region as part of the global counterterrorism effort.”

Somalia, which was swept by chaos after the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991, is currently run by a fragile central government.

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