Don't miss




McCain's health vote backlash

Read more


The Macron Touch: Can the new French President be Libya's Peacemaker?

Read more


'Maduro's regime is a criminal dictatorship'

Read more


Kenyan authorities step up security amid Al-Shabaab threat

Read more


Rock icons Midnight Oil on politics, passion and their long-awaited comeback

Read more


'Sleep tight beautiful boy': Charlie Gard's parents to take him off life support

Read more


South Africa's 'Guptaleaks': New website aims to reveal extent of 'state capture'

Read more


Building walls: French protesters block access to hotel migrant shelter

Read more


Google parent company's profits hit by EU fine

Read more


US soldier killed in fight with Somalia's al Shabaab

© AFP, HO, AMISOM | Somalia's fragile armed forces are dependent on foreign help to fight al Shabaab insurgents.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-05-05

The US military said Friday a service member has been killed in Somalia during an operation against al Shabaab as President Donald Trump’s administration steps up its fight against the al Qaeda-linked militant group.

A statement from the US Africa Command said the service member was killed Thursday during the operation near Barii, about 40 miles (64 kilometres) west of the capital, Mogadishu.

The statement said US forces were conducting an advise-and-assist mission with Somalia's military.

A Somali intelligence official confirmed the US military operation, saying US forces in helicopters raided an al Shabaab hideout near the Somali capital on Thursday night and engaged with fighters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the helicopters dropped soldiers near Dare Salaam village in an attempt to capture or kill extremists in the area.

The official said the fighters mounted a stiff resistance against the soldiers.

Trump’s new-found interventionism

Both the United States and Somalia in recent weeks have declared new efforts against al Shabaab.

Somalia's new Somali-American president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, last month declared a new offensive against the extremist group, which is based in Somalia but has claimed responsibility for major attacks elsewhere in East Africa.

In Washington, President Donald Trump has also approved expanded military operations against the militant group, including more aggressive air strikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.

His decision to step up the fight against al Shabaab has surprised analysts, coming on the heels of a presidential campaign during which the Republican candidate struck a markedly non-interventionist tone.

It marked the first significant deployment of US personnel in the war-torn country since two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and bodies of Americans were dragged through the streets in 1993, prompting horror in the US and leading to the withdrawal of all American peacekeepers.

New threat from IS group

Al Shabaab, which was chased out of Mogadishu years ago but continues to carry out deadly attacks there, has vowed to step up the violence in response to Trump’s move.

Pressure is growing on Somalia's military to assume full security for the country as the 22,000-strong African Union multinational force that has been supporting the fragile central government plans to leave by the end of 2020.

The US military has acknowledged the problem. The AU force will begin withdrawing in 2018, and the head of the US Africa Command, Commander General Thomas Waldhauser, has said that if it leaves before Somalia's security forces are capable, "large portions of Somalia are at risk of returning to al Shabaab control".

Walhauser also warned that a premature exit by the AU force could allow the Islamic State (IS) group to “gain a stronger foothold" in the country.

Fighters linked to the IS group are a relatively new and growing challenge in the north of the country, which has seen a quarter-century of chaos since dictator Siad Barre fell in 1991.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2017-05-05

  • Somalia

    Opinion: Everyone’s talking corruption, but ignoring security, in Somalia

    Read more


    Death toll in Somalia market attack mounts to 39

    Read more

  • Somalia

    Somalia wakes up to new President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo

    Read more