There are more than 7,300 US Special Operations forces soldiers operating around the world, reports the New York Times, and one lost his life in Africa on Friday. The BBC reports the incident in southwest Somalia was believed to be an ambush by al-Shabab militants; four other American service members were injured. The Times calls the death the "first to have been publicized in Africa since an ambush in Niger in October." The American forces were serving near Jamaame alongside Somali troops and supported by armed surveillance aircraft.
The BBC reports President Trump has broadened the involvement of US military in Somalia, but the Times notes the US is thought to be moving toward a reeling in of counterterrorism forces in Africa as part of a Pentagon reshuffling that would put the emphasis on Russia, China, and other larger world powers. While al-Shabab was pushed out of the capital city of Mogadishu nearly 7 years ago, the BBC reports it occupies areas around the city. "The mission's objectives were to clear al-Shabab from contested areas," United States Africa Command said in a statement following the attack. (Read more Somalia stories.)