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US accused of war crimes in Somalia

Amnesty International accuses Washington of failing to adequately investigate allegations of civilian casualties during the drone and aircraft attacks

US AIR STRIKES have killed 14 civilians and injured eight in Somalia so far this year according to a new report which accuses Washington of potential war crimes in the African country.

Research by Amnesty International accuses the US of failing to adequately investigate allegations of civilian casualties during the drone and aircraft attacks, warning that the killings are being conducted in a “shroud of secrecy.”

It found that air strikes against alleged al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab targets in Somalia have steadily risen during the Trump administration, from 47 in 2018 to 28 so far this year.

The report claimed that at least 14 civilians were killed and several injured in just five of more than 100 air strikes carried out over the last two years.

“The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes,” the Amnesty report said.

US Africa Command (Africom), which has hundreds of bases from where military operations are conducted across the continent, “repeated its denial that civilians have been killed” in its interventions in Somalia when presented with the report’s findings.

However, Amnesty rejected the claims of zero civilian casualties as “just not credible” and said it was “very suspicious” of the military’s consistent denials.

Under legislation Pentagon-authorised drone strikes are required to be disclosed publicly, but the CIA does not operate under the same rules, bringing into question which body is responsible for the attacks.

Amnesty spokesman Brian Castner said: “Our findings directly contradict the US military’s mantra of zero civilian casualties in Somalia.

“That claim seems all the more fanciful when you consider the US has tripled its air strikes across the country since 2016, outstripping their strikes in Libya and Yemen combined.”


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