USA

U.S. vows to restore peace in Somalia despite death of service member

U.S. vows to restore peace in Somalia despite death of service member

A Navy SEAL who was killed in an operation against terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia earlier this week has been identified by the Department of Defense as Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine.

A statement from the US Africa Command said the service member was killed on Thursday during the operation near Barii, about 64 kilometers west of the capital, Mogadishu, France24 reported.

The US troops were part of a US military program to advise and assist Somali ground forces.

Two other U.S. service members were also wounded.

Davis said al-Shabaab is an al-Qaida affiliate closely tied more specifically to Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which is a group that has murdered Americans, radicalized and recruited terrorists and fighters in the United States, and has conducted and inspired attacks against Americans and USA interests around the world. The target in Somalia was a local al-Shabaab leader who had been involved in planning attacks against facilities used by U.S. and African forces in Somalia.

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Following U.S President Donald Trump's executive orders to lift restrictions on the U.S forces operations, the U.S Special Forces and their Somali counterpart intensified covert operations on the militant group recently, as U.S increased the presence of its forces training and advising Somali forces. Davis said there are typically about 50 US special operators in Somalia at any time for that mission.

Abdirisak Farah, a Somali military officer, said there were casualties on both sides, with six Shabaab fighters killed.

Al-Shabab controls larges swaths of territory and regularly carries out attacks on the military, civilians and some 20,000 African Union peacekeeping troops in the country supporting the government and help secure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

In March, President Donald Trump relaxed rules created to limit civilian casualties during military operations in Somalia, which some interpreted as a sign of a ramped up military campaign against militants there.

In recent years, the USA has sent a small number of special operations forces and counterterrorism advisers to Somalia and conducted airstrikes. He was killed, and two other SEALs were injured during a gunfight with the Islamic terror group, marking the first American combat fatality in Somalia since the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" battle.

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"Al-Shabab presents a threat to Americans and American interests", U.S. Africa Command said in a statement on Friday.

"The wider context, and hence why the US may be being more aggressive vs.al-Shabab now, is to try and engineer a timely and successful exit strategy for AMISOM, which means degrading al-Shabab and bolstering the Somali security forces", Paul Williams, an associate professor at George Washington University and author on peacekeeping operations in Africa, said in an email.

United States forces are in Somalia to train local forces to combat the terror group, al Shabab, an al Qaeda affiliate that carried out the 2013 attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya killing 60 and injuring another 175.

Somalia descended into chaos in 1991 after longtime dictator Mohammad Siad Barre was overthrown by clan-based militias, who then fought each other for power.

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