The U.S. military is reportedly investigating the possible involvement of two SEAL Team 6 commandos in the strangulation death of an Army Green Beret while on a secret assignment in Mali, The New York Times report.
Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, 34, was found dead on June 4 at the embassy housing he shared with several other special operations forces working in West Africa on training and counterterrorism missions, the New York Times reported.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service confirmed the investigation into Melgar’s death to Fox News on Sunday, but did not name suspects.
A military medical examiner reportedly ruled the cause of Melgar’s death to be “a homicide by asphyxiation,” or strangulation. An investigating officer was reportedly sent to Mali within 24 hours following the incident, suspecting foul play.
The cause of the death is listed as a homicide, according to the Washington Post. A military spokesman could not release additional information except that the incident is still under investigation.
There have been no charges, but the two members of the SEAL Team 6 – the famous counterterror unit that killed Usama Bin Laden in 2011 – were flown out of Mali and placed on administrative leave, The Times reported.
The commandoes were initially described as “witnesses” but later changed to “persons of interest” as the authorities continue to determine the exact degree of participating of the commandos in the homicide, the report said.
The possible involvement of the elite force members has sparked speculations among the Green Beret community about the possible motive for the death, some suggesting it was a personal dispute, while others wonder whether Melgar have uncovered some illegal activity the commandos were involved in, according to the Times who spoke with the troops and their families.
Melgar was the 34-year-old Afghanistan veteran who joined the army in 2012 and assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group – the same unit of soldiers that was attacked by Islamic militants in Niger on October 4 and resulted in the deaths of four soldiers.
The Green Beret soldier was in Mali on a mission to provide intelligence about the Islamic militants to the U.S. Ambassador Paul A. Folmsbee in the country and protect the staff against possible attacks, the Times reported.
Melgar is scheduled to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 20.
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