No civilians were killed in a joint US-Somali counter-terrorism raid on Al-Shabaab earlier this week, the Somali government has claimed.
Garowe Online reported security spokesperson Abdalaziz Hildhiban saying: “As of now, there are no civilian casualties resulted in the operation.”
He continued that on fighters were killed during the attack which was launched in response to an imminent threat to the capital.
The raid took place at the Ma’alinka village near Bariire, located approximately 60 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu.
The US government has not publically acknowledged the joint raid with Somali troops. Last year in August, the US conducted a controversial strike killing ten civilians including several women and children who were running to take cover behind banana trees.
Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2012 attracting a heavy presence of US counter-terrorism operations in Somalia. Unmanned drones, sporadic air strikes and counter-terrorism raids regularly take place in Somalia, often killing civilians in the process. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which tracks US activity worldwide, some 745 have reportedly been killed in Somalia by the US’ use of force and 87 injured.
The US Pentagon late last year inked plans to the White House to fight in Somalia for two more years. President Donald Trump has already provided the US military and CIA broader authority to execute strikes in Somalia, considering it an “area of active hostilities”. But human rights groups have previously voiced concern over the lack of transparency over civilian casualties and zero accountability process for US activity in Somalia.
Somalia has been supported by a US-backed African mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to neutralise Al-Shabaab. Regional African states have deployed troops in Somalia to eradicate the group’s motives to take over and implement a strict version of Islamic law. Al-Shabaab control small pockets of territory in southern Somalia.
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