US Military reviews possible civilian casualties in Yemen, Somalia

Two US military regional combatant commands, CENTCOM and AFRICOM, acknowledged reports of civilian casualties and are reviewing separate recent operations following allegations of civilian deaths.

In a press release last week, US Forces Central Command (CENTCOM) acknowledged reports of civilian casualties in a March 29 strike targeting Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Bayda governorate. A “credibility assessment” is currently underway.

Separately, US Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) is reviewing an operation against Shabaab in Somalia following reports of civilians causalities. According to a press release earlier this month, US forces participated in a Somali-led operation near Bulcida on May 9 that resulted in the capture of three Shabaab leaders. The US forces were serving in an advise-and-assist capacity.

American forces participated in a raid that captured three Shabaab commanders on that date, according to a Somali intelligence official quoted by the Associated Press. According to the same report, the raid also killed five civilians believed to be banana farmers.

An AFRICOM press release acknowledged the reports of civilian casualties: “We take these reports seriously. As with any allegations of civilian casualties we receive, U.S. Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties,” the AFRICOM statement said.

The US did not conduct any air strikes in association with this operation, AFRICOM Media Relations Officer Samantha Reho told FDD’s Long War Journal. The US has conducted a total of thirteen strikes in Somalia in 2018, all of which have targeted Shabaab.

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