A CIA officer has reportedly been killed in combat in Somalia. The officer, said to be a former Navy SEAL, died in recent days, according to the New York Times, which first reported the story and quoted current and former U.S. officials.
The unnamed individual is the 136th CIA officer known to have been killed on active duty with the CIA. While the agency does not routinely comment on its operations abroad, it tweeted in September that its memorial wall featured 135 stars honoring officers who “gave their lives in service to their country.”
The Times said it was unclear whether the officer died during an enemy attack or was killed in a counterterrorism raid.
The officer was reported to be involved in a CIA operation against the jihadist organization Al-Shabab, which is waging an insurgency against the Western-backed federal government in Somalia and has also declared war on Kenya following the latter’s invasion of Somalia in 2011 in response to cross-border raids by the militants.
The Islamist group remains the most active and deadly in Africa, and claims control of swathes of southern and central Somalia.
Newsweek has contacted the CIA for comment.
Earlier this month, U.S. officials said Donald Trump was considering withdrawing nearly all troops from Somalia as part of a global pullback.
In September, a U.S. soldier was injured and two Somali soldiers were killed when an Al-Shabab suicide bomber was stopped at a checkpoint.
A Somali information ministry statement said the attack took place about 60 kilometers north of the port city of Kismayo. The Al-Shabab extremist was killed.
U.S. Africa Command spokesman Christopher Karns said at the time: “The U.S. service member is in stable condition and receiving treatment for injuries that are not assessed to be life-threatening.”
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seal is displayed in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on August 14, 2008. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Last year, a survivor of 9/11 was named as one of the victims of an attack by Al-Shabab on a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, which left more than a dozen people dead.
Jason Spindler died during an attack on the DusitD2 complex, which also contains offices and shops, in an upmarket area of the Kenyan capital city.
Spindler, 40, was the CEO of I-DEV International, a consultancy and investment firm he founded in 2007. The company, which focused on the developing world, had a base in Nairobi.
In 2017, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia—the first American military casualty in the country for two decades.
Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, was killed during a mission targeting Al-Shabab, around 40 miles west of the Somali capital Mogadishu. Two other American personnel were wounded in the incident.