Civilian deaths mount as US drone strikes in Somalia escalate: AI

20th March, 2019 10:49:16 printer

NAIROBI: Amnesty International (AI) Wednesday accused US forces of killing several civilians in Somalia as they “dramatically increased” the number of air strikes in the volatile country, but the US military denied the deaths, reports AFP.   

The US military said it had carried out 110 strikes by drones and manned aircraft in the past two years in Somalia, killing over 800 people, but insisted every death was that of a “terrorist.”

But Amnesty researchers who investigated five air strikes in detail reported at least 14 civilians had been killed—raising fears the total dead in the scores of attacks may be far higher.

“The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes,” Amnesty said in the report, titled “The Hidden US War in Somalia”. 

The study is based on 150 interviews including witnesses, family members of those killed and security experts.

Their reports were corroborated by satellite imagery, photographs of the deep craters of the explosions, as well as munition fragments collected from the sites.