(News Desk) – Leaders of a US Navy SEAL team deployed to Africa have been suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct, according to a report.
The SEAL team’s commander and the senior enlisted adviser have been relieved of their duties and sent back to the United States while the allegations are being investigated, CNN reported.
“Special Operations Command Africa commander Maj. Gen. Mark Hicks suspended the Special Operations Command Forward – East Africa commander and senior enlisted adviser of their duties on May 10 due to allegations of misconduct,” Maj. Casey Osborne, a spokesman for Special Operations Command Africa, told the network.
Many of the Navy SEALs in East Africa conduct operations in Somalia, supposedly advising local forces combating al-Shabab militants.
News of the investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct comes as Special Operations Forces in Africa have come under intense scrutiny over the past months.
US Africa Command, which oversees US military operations on the continent, issued a statement Friday saying it was reviewing allegations that “a Somali-led operation” against al-Shabab near Bulcida had caused civilian casualties.
The statement said that US military personnel had partnered with the Somali forces during the operation.
The Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service is also investigating an August joint US-Somali military operation which reportedly resulted in the death of civilians.
US Africa Command had initially stated that the only casualties during the operation were al-Shabab militants. However, its commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser referred the matter to NCIS following media reports of alleged “misconduct by US personnel who participated in the operation.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon released a summary of its months-long investigation into a botched US operation in Niger in 2017, which left four American soldiers dead. The probe has found mistakes on all military levels in the secret mission.
The investigation however assigned blame mostly to the junior Special Forces — or the Green Berets — involved in executing the October operation in a remote part of Niger.