(Al Jazeera News) – A US special operations soldier has been killed and five military personnel – including four American service members – wounded in an “enemy attack” in southwestern Somalia, according to US officials.
The US military’s Africa Command said in a statement on Friday that the attack occurred in Jubaland, where a large force comprising about 800 Somali, Kenyan and US troops were conducting an operation against al-Shabab fighters.
The multinational force “came under mortar and small-arms fire at approximately 2:45pm Mogadishu time [11:45 GMT], killing one US service member and injuring four US service members and one partner force member,” the US military’s Africa Command said in a statement.
The statement did not clarify whether the “partner force member” was part of the Somali or Kenyan armed forces.
The armed group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Reuters news agency.
Although one of the wounded Americans did not receive additional care after being treated in the field, the other three and the wounded local soldier were medically evacuated for follow-up care.
The troops had been on a mission to clear al-Shabab from contested areas as well as villages the armed group’s fighters controlled “and establish a permanent combat outpost” to expand the reach of the Somali state, the US military’s Africa Command said.