from SAAD MUSE in Mogadishu, Somalia
MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) – AN international human rights group is demanding justice and reparation for civilians killed during the United States’ secret air war to eliminate the Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia.
Two more deadly airstrikes on civilians by the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) have been revealed.
An 18-year-old woman and 53-year-old man were killed during different airstrikes that Amnesty International traced to February.
Three people were injured.
After both strikes, AFRICOM issued press releases claiming it had killed an Al-Shabaab terrorist, without offering evidence of the victims’ alleged links to the armed group.
By contrast, Amnesty International said it found no evidence that the individuals killed or injured were members of Al-Shabaab or otherwise directly participating in hostilities.
“The evidence is stacking up and it’s pretty damning,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
“Not only does AFRICOM utterly fail at its mission to report civilian casualties in Somalia, it doesn’t seem to care about the fate of the numerous families it has completely torn apart.”
AFRICOM has conducted hundreds of air strikes in the decade-long fight against the armed group but has only admitted to killing civilians in a single strike that took place two years ago.
In the first three months of 2020 alone, US forces have conducted a total of 32 air strikes in Somalia, according to the monitoring group Airwars.
Last year, AFRICOM conducted a record 63 strikes in the East African country.
Abdullahi Hassan, Amnesty International’s Somalia Researcher, said the US should be held accountable for these apparent violations of international humanitarian law.
“The US military should not be allowed to continue to paint its civilian victims as ‘terrorists’ while leaving grieving families in the lurch,” Hassan said.
– CAJ News