US military acknowledges two civilian injuries in Somalia

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AFRICOM ACKNOWLEDGES TWO MORE CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: U.S. Africa Command (Africom) released Friday the latest of its relatively new series of quarterly reports on civilian casualties results from its airstrike.

In the report, Africom acknowledged that two civilians were injured in an airstrike in February.

“We employ a rigorous airstrike and assessment process while operating in a complex and challenging environment,” Africom commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement. “We are focused on degrading al Shabaab, disrupting their activities and impacting their ability to plan and carry out attacks. Unfortunately in the process of doing so, we assess injuries to two civilians occurred during an airstrike on Feb. 17.”

The strike at issue happened near Jilib, Somalia. At the time, Africom said it assessed one al Shabaab facility was destroyed and that there were no civilian casualties.

Since then, Africom received three reports saying that two civilians were injured, according to Friday’s report.

Background: Outside organizations accuse the U.S. military of severely undercounting the number of civilians it kills. Africom in particular has come under fire as it did not acknowledge any civilian casualties until last year.

In April 2019, Africom acknowledged for the first time that two civilians were killed in an airstrike in Somalia the year before.

Then, this April, Africom released its first official quarterly report on civilian casualties, acknowledging another two civilian deaths from a 2019 airstrike in Somalia.

The second quarterly report, released in July, acknowledged one more civilian death in Somalia.