In Somalia, the United States says it conducted another air strike near Jilib on Tuesday and successfully targeted one al-Shabaab terrorist who, the U.S. Africa Command said, “had direct ties to the al-Qaeda terror organization.”
The strike “is an example of the successful incursions our Somali partners are making into al-Shabaab territory,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations for U.S. Africa Command. “Together, with the Federal Government of Somalia, we remain resolute to maintain pressure on al-Shabaab’s network and levels of leadership while countering violent extremist intentions and actions.”
No civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike, the U.S. statement added.
It comes just weeks after the most recent human rights investigation from Amnesty International on the issue, which has drawn attention to concerns that the U.S. strikes are killing civilians in Somalia. The Amnesty investigation focused on three deaths reported in March in the Lower Shabelle region.
The human rights NGO said it shared its information on those deaths with AFRICOM in August but the U.S. authorities continued to maintain that only terrorists were targeted.
“It’s bad enough that the US Africa Command appears not to know who its air strikes are actually killing and maiming in its secretive war in Somalia,” said Abdullahi Hassan, Amnesty International’s Somalia researcher. “But it’s reprehensible that AFRICOM offers no way for those affected to contact it and has failed to reach out to the families of victims after its version of events was called into question in this case.”