A U.S. service member has been killed during an operation against al-Shabab militants in Somalia.
The U.S. military said Friday that the service member — reported to be a Navy SEAL — was killed near Barii, Somalia, approximately 65 kilometers west of Mogadishu.
The statement from the military’s Africa Command said U.S. forces were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army.
A senior official in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region says the soldiers raided a building which houses Radio Andalus, al-Shabab’s official radio station.
He told VOA’s Somali Service that eight al-Shabab militants were killed in the operation. He said he believes the soldiers seized radio station equipment.
Al-Shabab said Friday that their fighters killed a number of “enemy soldiers” in the operation.
The group’s military spokesman, Abdulaziz Abu Musab, told Radio Andalus on Friday that militias have “foiled” an attack by U.S. troops.
Abu Musab said the fighters knew about the attack in advance and were prepared for it. “Their mission did not achieve its objectives,” he said.
Soldiers Arrived Via Helicopter
Security sources and officials in the Lower Shabelle region say the attack was carried out by Somalia’s Danab commando team, accompanied by U.S. special forces.
They say soldiers attacked a target in Dar es Salam village, located between two small towns controlled by al-Shabab, Barii and Mubarak. The area is said to be mostly farmland with large banana and pawpaw crops.
One official told VOA Somali that helicopters carried the commandos and special forces from Ballidogle airport, a known base for U.S. trainers working with Somali forces.
The sources said helicopters dropped the forces near Barii. The soldiers then walked to Dar es Salam village. A source said a Somali ground force from the town of Afgoye supported the raid.
The attack happened around midnight Friday, say the officials, who asked they not be identified because they are not allowed to speak about the incident.
Officials said they could not talk about how the U.S. service member was killed.