The United States army announced on Saturday morning that an airstrike it conducted on Friday killed over 30 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia in self-defense.
“The strike occurred approximately 260 km northeast of Mogadishu near Galcad, Somalia where Somalia National Army forces were engaged in heavy fighting following a complex, extended, intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabaab fighters,” the U.S. Africa Command said in a statement received by Today News Africa.
“The combined actions by partner forces on the ground and the collective self-defense strike is estimated to have resulted in three destroyed vehicles and approximately thirty al-Shabaab terrorists killed,” added the Command.
The Command often refers to Somali fighters as terrorists while U.S. troops are seen as the allies of the government of Somalia fighting terrorism.
It said that the strike was carried out “at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and in support of Somali National Army engagements against al-Shabaab.”
It added that no civilians were killed.
“Given the remote location of the fighting, the command assesses that no civilians were injured or killed,” it said.
Human rights organizations have said that U.S. troops in Somalia often kill civilians but hide it or simply describe them as terrorists.
Those killed by American strikes, often without compensation or recognition have included women and children.
In comparison, al-Shabaab often carries out massive indiscriminate terrorist attacks that kill hundreds of people and injure even more, including one of the latest ones on October 29 that left over 100 civilians dead and more than 300 others injured.
Justifying why U.S. forces are operating in Somalia and killing people from that country, AFRICOM wrote, “The U.S. is one of several countries providing support to the Federal Government of Somalia in its ongoing campaign to disrupt, degrade and defeat terrorist groups. Rooting out extremism ultimately requires intervention beyond traditional military means, leveraging U.S. and partner efforts to support effective governance, promote stabilization and economic development, and resolve ongoing conflicts.
“U.S. Africa Command is the defense arm of the U.S. whole-of-government approach with African partners — diplomacy, development and defense. This three-pronged, or “3D” approach aims to increase cooperation and support for “partner-led, U.S.-enabled” solutions to shared security challenges, including violent extremism or terrorism. All kinetic operations conducted and supported by U.S. Africa Command are done in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia.
“Somalia remains central to stability and security in all of East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to help give them the tools they need to defeat al-Shabaab, the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world.
“U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of this operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.
“The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote greater security for all Africans. To view the U.S. Africa Command Quarterly Civilian Casualty reports.”