Mil­i­tary says no civil­ians killed in Au­gust So­ma­lia raid

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

THE US mil­i­tary did not kill any civil­ians when it ac­com­pa­nied So­mali forces on a deadly raid in Au­gust, US Africa com­mand said late on Wed­nes­day, the first pub­lic state­ment on the find­ings from an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the raid.

The two-para­graph state­ment re­ferred to a joint raid by US and So­mali troops on the vil­lage of Bari­ire. Eye­wit­nesses told Reuters that 10 civil­ians were killed and the mil­i­tary had been drawn into a lo­cal clan con­flict.

The sur­vivors and rel­a­tives of the dead said they wanted blood money and an apol­ogy.

The US mil­i­tary de­nied that any civil­ians were killed, although it did not of­fer any de­tails on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The state­ment de­scribed the dead as “en­emy com­bat­ants” and the mil­i­tary later said in a Twit­ter mes­sage that they were mem­bers of al Shabaab, the al-qaeda linked in­sur­gency. Africa Com­mand did not pro­vide any proof for their claim.

“Af­ter a thor­ough assess­ment of the So­mali Na­tional Army-led op­er­a­tion near Bari­ire, So­ma­lia, on Au­gust 25, 2017 and the as­so­ci­ated al­le­ga­tions of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties, US Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Com­mand Africa (SOCAF) has con­cluded that the only ca­su­al­ties were those of armed en­emy com­bat­ants,” the two para­graph state­ment read. “Be­fore con­duct­ing op­er­a­tions with part­ner forces, SOCAF conducts de­tailed plan­ning and co­or­di­na­tion to re­duce the like­li­hood of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties and to en­sure com­pli­ance with the Law of Armed Con­flict. US Africa Com­mand and the De­part­ment of De­fense take al­le­ga­tions of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties very se­ri­ously.”

De­spite promis­ing a pub­lic in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the em­bat­tled So­mali govern­ment has made no pub­lic state­ment on the raid, and some So­mali se­cu­rity of­fi­cials said pri­vately that it would not, for fear of alien­at­ing the pow­er­ful clan whose mem­bers were killed.

Some So­mali se­cu­rity of­fi­cials have sug­gested pri­vately that the sur­vivors and rel­a­tives had mis­rep­re­sented the in­ci­dent to try to get cash and po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tages for their clan.

The United States has stepped up op­er­a­tions in So­ma­lia this year af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump loos­ened re­stric­tions on the mil­i­tary in March. A Navy SEAL was killed there in May, the first US com­bat ca­su­alty there since a Black­hawk he­li­copter was shot down in 1993. The United States has also ramped up its use of air strikes, con­duct­ing twice as many strikes this year as last year.

So­ma­lia has been riven by civil war since 1991. It now has a weak, in­ter­na­tion­ally-backed govern­ment, sup­ported by African peace­keep­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.