U.S. special operations forces working with African partners clashed with Shebab militants in Somalia early Thursday, killing five, a U.S. defense official said. There were no U.S. injuries.
The official said the U.S. forces were advising and assisting Ugandan troops from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in southern Somalia, west of Mogadishu.
The AMISOM troops were on a mission to "disrupt" an illegal Shebab roadblock where the jihadists were extorting payments from drivers.
Shebab fighters "had posed an imminent threat to AMISOM forces," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, at which point U.S. troops "conducted defensive fires."
Five Shebab fighters were killed. There were no reports of injuries to the Ugandan or U.S. troops in the operation, which was first reported by CNN.
The Al-Qaida-linked Shebab group was chased out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011 but remains a dangerous threat in both Somalia and neighboring Kenya, where it carries out frequent attacks.
The United States has a small special operations presence, assisted by air power, in the impoverished country.
The Pentagon periodically announces results of its strikes in Somalia, including one in March on a Shebab training camp that killed more than 150 fighters who were planning a "large-scale" attack.
U.S. special forces are working alongside local partners to fight jihadists in several countries across Africa and the Middle East.
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