he campaign group Amnesty International has said three men killed in a U.S airstrike in March in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region were civilians negating AFRICOM’s assertion that the three were Al-Shabaab members.
Amnesty said Monday in a statement it had established the three men killed in Abdow Dibile in Lower Shabelle region in March 18 this year were farmers who were returning home from their farms in Muuri area in Lower Shabelle.
“An investigation by Amnesty International has revealed that three men killed in a US military air strike in March after being targeted as “Al-Shabaab terrorists” were in fact civilian farmers with no evidence of links to the armed group,” Amnesty said.
The campaign group said it was concerned the U.S military concluded the three were Al-Shabaab members yet evidence proved otherwise. It added that the U.S military provided no options for aggrieved parties to provide any information about identity of victims noting that even in instances where information was availed, the U.S military failed to act.
U.S Africa Command (AFRICOM) said, “Based on detailed methods and a body of multi-intelligence reporting, to include the actions observed from the vehicle, U.S. Africa Command arrived at reasonable certainty the vehicle and its occupants were al-Shabaab and actively supporting al-Shabaab operational activity.”
Amnesty Somalia researcher Abdullahi Hassan noted ‘it’s reprehensible that AFRICOM offers no way for those affected to contact it and has failed to reach out to the families of victims after its version of events was called into question in this case.”
Amnesty accused the U.S military of failing ‘to undertake necessary measures to ensure that they were targeting fighters directly participating in hostilities and not civilians.