Somalia’s Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack in which a US commando was killed and four others wounded when they came under fire.
The US Special Operations forces were fighting alongside about 800 troops from the Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defence Forces when they were attacked on Friday by mortar and small arms fire.
“We attacked a military base … killed one US soldier, two Kenyan soldiers and nine Somali soldiers from Jubbaland state. We also injured four US soldiers,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters.
He said the attack was in Kismayo.
In a statement, the US military said a local soldier was wounded in the attack that involved Somali and Kenyan forces.
The troops were on a mission to clear al Shabaab from contested areas as well as villages the militants controlled “and establish a permanent combat outpost” to expand the reach of the Somali state, according to the US statement.
Kenyan military spokesman David Obonyo told Reuters its forces were not involved in any operations in Somalia on Friday.
About 500 US troops are deployed in Somalia.
Al Shabaab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s central government and establish its own rule based on its interpretation of Islamic law.
Since being pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, the group lost control of most of Somalia’s cities and towns, but retains a strong presence in regions outside the capital.