Tuesday April 28, 2020
MOGADISHU(HOL) - The U.S military has admitted it killed two civilians in Somalia and injured three others in an airstrike in 2019.
The U.S Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in its inaugural quarterly report on casualties of its airstrikes in Somalia that two Somali civilians died as a result of an airstrike in February 23, 2019. The airstrike happened in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow in Lower Shabelle region.AFRICOM commander Gen. Stephen Townsend admitted its operations resulted in the death of the two civilians affirming earlier claims by the campaign group Amnesty International.
“While we follow very precise and rigorous standards, in instances where we fail to meet our expectations, we will admit the mistake,” said Townsend. “Regrettably two civilians were killed and three others injured in a February 2019 airstrike. We have the highest respect for our Somali friends and we are deeply sorry this occurred.”
The admission by AFRICOM comes amid increasing pressure from Amnesty International which says it has recorded 21 civilian deaths in Somalia as a result of U.S airstrikes since 2017.
This is the second time AFRICOM is admitting civilians’ deaths in Somalia. The Command took responsibility for one civilian death in Elbuur in Galgadud region which occurred in April 2018.
Amnesty welcomed the report and called on the U.S government to compensate victims of its military operations.
“This first regular public report acknowledging AFRICOM’s role in civilian casualties is a welcome glimmer of transparency in more than a decade of deadly military operations that until now have been shrouded in secrecy,” Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa said.
“Now there must be accountability and reparation for the victims and their families – the US military has still neither contacted nor offered reparation to the families of any of the civilians it has admitted to killing.”