Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar was found dead June 4 in embassy housing while deployed to Bamako, Mali, the Times reported in a shocking exclusive. Melgar's death was never publicly announced by the Department of Defense, as is standard when a service member dies during a deployment.
Criminal investigators were dispatched to the scene of 34-year-old Melgar's death within a day, the Times reported, and the case was transferred from the Army Criminal Investigative Division to Naval Criminal Investigative Service in September.
The two SEALs suspected to have caused Melgar's death by strangulation have not been identified. They were sent home shortly after the alleged murder and have been placed on administrative leave, the Times reported.
Naval Special Warfare Command officials did not immediately respond to a Military.com query Sunday.
U.S. military special operations activities in Africa have received renewed public attention since four Special Forces soldiers were killed in an attack by local militants Nov. 4. That incident, and how Green Berets were reassigned from an advise-and-assist mission to the takeout of a terrorist leader, has prompted inquiries from lawmakers and senior officials.
Mali borders Niger to the west and has long been a haven for al Qaida-affiliated radicals. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said that more than 1,000 U.S. troops are stationed in a region that includes both countries.