Two US Navy sailors were reported missing while conducting operations Thursday off the coast of Somalia, according to US Central Command.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing to locate the sailors, Central Command said in a Friday statement.
The brief statement gave no additional information about what the sailors had been doing when they went missing other than to say they were “forward-deployed” to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet area of operations and were “supporting a wide variety of missions.”
“Out of respect for the families affected, we will not release further information at this time,” the statement said.
The US maintains a small military presence in Somalia which focuses on the threat of the al-Shabaab militant group, an extremist Islamist organization that has carried out attacks against the Somali government. The US recognizes al-Shabaab as a terrorist organization.
In addition to training Somali forces, the US has also coordinated with the Somali government to carry out strikes against al-Shabaab.
According to US Africa Command, “Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests.”