AFRICOM, the United States’ command in Africa, has disputed claims that Special Operations soldiers killed any civilian during a raid conducted in August. The PAO office for the command released a statement on Wednesday, which was the first public statement concerning the allegations that first surfaced in the Daily Beast.
AFRICOM’s two-paragraph statement referred to a joint raid by U.S. and Somali troops on the village of Bariire and claimed that those killed were enemy combatants from the al Shabab terror network which is affiliated with al-Qaeda. However, eyewitnesses told the press that there were 10 civilians were killed.
The survivors and relatives of the dead said they wanted blood money and an apology.
“After a thorough assessment of the Somali National Army-led operation near Bariire, Somalia, on Aug. 25, 2017, and the associated allegations of civilian casualties, U.S. 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. U.S. 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.
The US has been stepping up its presence in Somalia and Africa as a whole. A Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia earlier this year, the first US combat death in the country since the “Black Hawk Down” battle in Mogadishu in October 1993.
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Photo courtesy Wikipedia
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