Melgar, a 34-year-old veteran of two deployments to Afghanistan, was found dead on June 4 in the embassy housing he shared in the Malian capital, Bamako, with several other Special Operations forces. Investigators initially characterized the SEALs as witnesses and then changed to persons of interest.
USA forces have been deployed to the country to help with counterterrorism. A military medical examiner ruled his death as a homicide by strangulation. The official said the transfer of jurisdiction indicates that Navy personnel are subjects of the investigation. The two have since been placed in administrative leave.
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The case was handed off last month to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service but no one has been charged as yet.
The report of the mysterious death and resulting homicide investigation comes as the United States undergoes heightened scrutiny about its military role Africa following the death of four U.S. service members in Niger earlier this month.
"I have no info on his cause and manner of death", Buice said, adding that the agency does not discuss details of ongoing investigations. The West African country of Mali borders Niger, where four USA soldiers were killed during an ambush earlier this month.