Johannesburg – Somali authorities are yet to respond to a US military investigation of a deadly August raid in Somalia which contradicts statements by officials from that country that said several civilians, including children, were killed during the raid, AP reports.
A combined force of American and Somali soldiers carried out a raid on a local farm in Bariire village, 50km west of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on August 25.
According to Somalia’s military chief civilians were killed and this claim was supported by the deputy governor of Lower Shabelle, Ali Nur Mohamed, who claimed three children, aged 8 to 10 and the body of a woman, were among the 10 civilians killed.
Their bodies were subsequently laid out in the capital Mogadishu for display, a common tactic employed by the Somalis to draw media attention in cases where they claim soft targets were hit.
However, the US Africa Command released a statement on Wednesday stating that following a thorough assessment of the raid by Special Operations Command Africa showed that “the only casualties were those of armed enemy combatants”.
No immediate response was forthcoming from Somali officials who later clarified that they would investigate the raid themselves, noting that it appeared more than one security operation had taken place.
US forces in the Horn of Africa country have carried out an increasing number of drone strikes, numbering 30 this year alone, under US President Donald Trump’s administration.
The strikes have targeted al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab militants as well as a small but growing number of Islamic State jihadis.
There are currently more than 500 US military personnel in Somalia who work in conjunction with Somali security forces in addition to training them.