A US Navy SEAL was killed, and two other Navy Seals were wounded during a gunfight in Somalia on Thursday, US Africa Command confirmed to NBC News and CNN on Friday. The fight took place as Navy SEALs exchanged fire with the al Qaeda affiliate group al-Shabab during a planned assistance operation in the region. The loss of a US service members life on Thursday was the first such loss in Somalia since 1993, when 18 American soldiers were killed following the now notorious incident involving the downing of two Black Hawk helicopters in Somalia.
US Africa Command released a statement regarding the presence of Navy SEAL’s in the region, and their mission to stop terrorist groups from gaining traction, CNN reports:
“US 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 loss of a US Navy Seal in Somalia comes as the US steps up its effort in the region to train the Somali National Army and the forces participating in the African Union Mission in methods they hope help extinguish terrorist groups in the area. The latest fight with al-Shabab comes as forces look to make headway against one of the strongest terrorist group forces face in Somalia. At least 12 people were killed in June of last year after al-Shabab detonated a car bomb and attacked a hotel in the region.
The Navy SEAL’s death in Somalia marks the latest loss of life of a US soldier under President Trump. In January, a US Commando was killed during the first counter-terrorist operation that took place under Trump. In that instance, a mission being carried out by Navy’s SEAL Team 6 in central Yemen went awry as US fighters came under intense firefight by Al-Qaeda militants on the ground.