U.S. military dismisses claims of civilian casualties in August Somalia raid

The U.S. Africa Command has dismissed allegations that it killed civilians during a deadly August raid against militants in Somalia.

The Command issued a statement – the first on the findings from an investigation into the raid – saying that the only casualties were armed fighters.

“After a thorough assessment of the Somali National Army-led operation near Bariire, Somalia, on Aug. 25, 2017 and the associated allegations of civilian casualties, U.S. Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAF) has concluded that the only casualties were those of armed enemy combatants,” the statement read.

AFRICOM further said that it undertakes a detailed planning and coordination to minimize the risk of civilian casualties.

“Before conducting operations with partner forces, SOCAF conducts detailed planning and coordination to reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties and to ensure compliance with the Law of Armed Conflict. U.S. Africa Command and the Department of Defense take allegations of civilian casualties very seriously,” it said.

The US army has heightened attacks against militants in the Horn of African nation following an approval by the Donald Trump administration to engage more and conduct airstrikes.

The al-Shabaab jihadist group has operated in Somalia for close to a decade now, seeking to topple the government and institute a strict sharia-based system of governance.

Current Somali President Abdulahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo’ pledged to crush the militant group, and earlier this year sought assurances from regional leaders, over their help in the cause.

AFRICOM statement