WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer has died from an injury sustained during a mission in Somalia last weekend, The New York Times reported, citing a former senior US administration official familiar with the matter.
The report on Wednesday said the CIA officer was a former US Navy Seal, but the identity of the officer has not been made public. It added that he was also a member of the CIA’s paramilitary division.
Earlier on Wednesday, the US Defense Department’s Inspector General said in a report that militants from Islamist group al-Shabab continued attacks in East Africa as US forces revised plans to transition security responsibility to Somalia, because Somali forces fell short of development “milestones”.
Last week, the State Department announced that the leaders of al-Shabab are now considered “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”. One of the leaders of the group, Maalim Ayman, is considered to be behind the attack that killed one US serviceman and two contractors in Kenya in January 2020.
According to Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales, Washington regards al-Shabab to still be a threat both in Somalia and in the region, and the US will use all instruments available to defeat the group.
Sales said US “takes seriously our responsibilities to use what tools are available to us to roll back, degrade, and defeat” group, incl “all instruments of national power.” But declined to comment on withdrawal reports, instead announcing sanctions on 2 top al Shabaab officials.
— Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) November 17, 2020
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that US President Donald Trump was considering a withdrawal of almost all American troops stationed in Somalia at the moment. Earlier in October, the US president tweeted that his administration suspended entry for refugees coming from the “terror-compromised nations” – including Somalia, in order to prevent “radical Islamic terror” from entering the American borders.