TRT World Research Centre's investigation presents credible evidence that some 21 civilians were killed in the Lower Shebelle region in Somalia by manned and unmanned weapon systems in three different case incidences that occurred between January 2019 and March 2019.

Khalil Dewan Abdinor Hassan Dahir  23 September 2019

TRT World Research Centre's investigation (in collaboration with the Newsmakers) presents credible evidence that some 21 civilians were killed in the Lower Shebelle region in Somalia by manned and unmanned weapon systems in three different case incidences that occurred between January 2019 and March 2019. The US government acknowledged two of the three case incidences, and claimed that no civilians were killed. The other case incident was not acknowledged, after formally requesting information.

TRT World Research Centre’s report findings directly undermines the US’s assertion that no civilians were killed in these strikes in Somalia, despite a change to its policy in Somalia on March 2017 that effectively weakened non-combatant and civilian protections. The Trump administration introduced the idea of temporary battlefields or “area of active hostilities” permitting strikes if there is “reasonable certainty” that civilians will not be injured or killed – in juxtaposition to a previous standard of “near certainty”. Instead, the US government have accelerated the number of strikes in Somalia.

The cases documented show signs that the US forces – in some cases in conjunction with Somali forces – had no respect for international law and did not distinguish between armed combatants and non-combatants or civilians. The fact that US Africa Command (AFRICOM), in two out of three case incidences documented by TRT World Research Centre, failed to report on civilian casualties, raises questions over US lethal operations in Somalia.​

 

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