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12 May, 2018 08:41

Navy SEAL team leaders suspended over alleged sexual misconduct

Navy SEAL team leaders suspended over alleged sexual misconduct

Two Navy SEAL leaders, deployed in Africa, have been sent back to the US after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against the officers.

The commander and a senior officer of Naval Special Warfare Group TWO are under investigation for allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, officials said.

"A commanding officer and command master chief assigned to an east coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit have been relieved of their duties overseas due to alleged misconduct," SEAL team spokesperson Lieutenant Jacqui Maxwell said, as cited by ABC News.

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Both leaders are being investigated for allegations of sexual harassment, according to defense officials, and one of the pair has also been accused of inappropriately touching a female service member during the deployment.

The two officers were suspended from their duties on May 10 by Special Operations Command Africa commander, Major General Mark Hicks. The men were directed to return to the US while investigations by the Naval Special Warfare and the Navy's Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) are ongoing.

The allegations come as Special Operations Forces in Africa face increasing scrutiny. The US Africa Command issued a statement on Friday to confirm it was reviewing allegations that civilians were killed in a raid it supported against the extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia on May 9. The NCIS is also still investigating the alleged killing of civilians last August during a joint US-Somali military operation in Somalia.

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