Somali officials have demanded an explanation and investigation into a U.S. air strike just outside Galkayo that they say killed at least 13 members of the Galmudug administration’s regional security forces.
In response, the U.S. denied any forces other than al-Shabaab were targeted or hit:
On September 28, in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted a self-defense strike against al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-associated terrorist group, in Galcayo, Somalia.
During a Somali-led counterterrorism operation to disrupt an al-Shabaab Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making network, a group of armed al-Shabaab fighters attacked, threatening the safety and security of the Somali force and their U.S. advisors. Somali forces returned fire in self-defense. The U.S. conducted a self-defense strike to neutralize the threat, killing nine (9) enemy fighters.
We have seen reports alleging non-combatant casualties as a result of this defensive strike. We have assessed all credible evidence and determined those reports are incorrect.
Much of this controversy has been captured by Somali media in detail, including footage of the impact of the strike.
Bodies were recovered from the wreckage and buried in Galmudug…
…where they were treated at Medina hospital.
…followed by similar protests in Adado — one of the selected venues for upcoming Somali elections.
New U.S. Ambassador to Somalia, Stephen Schwartz told VOA news that Department of Defense is still not convinced that non-combatants were killed, though he added, “certainly any loss of life by non-combatants is regrettable and unfortunate…they are looking into it.”
UPDATE: On 10 November 2016, the Pentagon admitted the strike killed Somali friendly forces, not al-Shabaab.
Categories: Int'l Community in Somalia