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DATE PUBLISHED: 2019/4/6 - 13:23:17
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US military admits to killing civilians in Somali airstrikes

The United States military has admitted for the first time that it killed two Somali civilians in one of its airstrikes in the African countryís central El Burr region.

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) had for a long time insisted that it was only taking out “terrorists” in its alleged precision strikes in Somalia.

However, it admitted in a Friday statement that an internal review of the airstrikes had found hints at civilian casualties in April last year.

“During a commander-directed review of airstrikes conducted in Somalia since 2017, US Africa Command learned an April 1, 2018, airstrike killed two civilians," read the statement.

"The April 2018 airstrike was designed to degrade the al-Shabaab terrorist group near El Burr, Somalia. In the airstrike four al-Shabaab militants also were killed," it added.

The statement noted that a previous report on the airstrike, which stated five alleged terrorists had died in the attack, was not correct. The AFRICOM insisted that the error in reporting and assessment was an "isolated occurrence."

"Because of the reporting error, US Africa Command was not informed of the assessmentís conclusion -- and subsequently the information was not reported to external authorities, such as the host nation and Congress," AFRICOM said in its statement.

The force said it had notified the Somali government of the casualties. The statement gave no further details of the civilians killed in the airstrike.

AFRICOM also denied any relations between the casualties and a report by Amnesty International around the same time of the attack.

Amnesty International had reported civilian casualties in US airstrikes before the April raid took place. However, AFRICOM had insisted back then that its attacks followed a firm "zero casualties" policy.

US airstrikes, described as "unlawful killings," could well amount to "war crimes", according to Amnesty.  The London-based rights group believes that AFRICOMís civilians death report understate the real numbers recorded by investigators based on reports.

Last month, Amnesty reported that 14 civilians had been killed in only five US airstrikes that they had examined out of a total 110 missile strikes.

PressTV-íWar crimes,í more airstrikes: US legacy in Somalia

íWar crimes,í more airstrikes: US legacy in Somalia
US forces may have committed violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty said.

The US military campaign in Somalia, which includes missiles fired by manned aircraft as well as drones, expanded in Somalia after Donald Trump became president and declared southern Somalia an “area of active hostilities”.

Trump authorized the military in March 2017 to conduct “precision strikes”.

US forces have been reportedly targeting Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked extremists, mostly recruited by the al-Shabaab terrorist outfit. However, a large portion of the targets of US attacks are said to be civilian victims.

 

LINK: http://ansarpress.com/english/10648


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