Johannesburg – The latest air strikes in Somalia by the United States that have killed almost 100 “militants” represent an acceleration in military activity that threatens the lives of civilians and will exacerbate and intensify political violence in the region.
Added to this, a recent US “investigation” into the killing of ten civilians including three children  by American troops in the town of Bariire must be interrogated and challenged for its denials of responsibility despite American bullet casings being found at the site of the killings.
CAGE Africa calls for the halting of US strikes and all hostilities in Somalia.
The air strikes, conducted in November, were ostensibly targeted at “militants”. However, the United States defines a “militant” as “a military aged male in a strike zone”, broadening the reach of drone and air strikes to include civilians, while keeping the civilian death count deceptively low.
US President Donald Trump has also given US Africa Command chiefs the right to approve strikes, as opposed to permission having to go through the Pentagon. This means that strikes no longer have to be conducted in self defence or only when US and AFRICOM targets are specifically threatened, but are conducted at the behest of military officers.
The acceleration of hostilities in Somalia will have a counter-productive effect.
Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:
“US airstrikes and ground operations in Somalia are triumphantly touted as a war against terrorism by the public relations experts of US Central Command, but they hesitate to define “militants” when challenged to do so, and all evidence points to them targeting civilians in Bariire. However, the US gets impunity for these deaths behind carefully crafted language and ‘investigations’ that rely on bogus intelligence.”
“The fact that the world’s media does not interrogate this situation shows that less value is given to African Muslim life than any other community. This is an untenable state of play that will only give rise to more grievances and discord.”
“Nothing less than full accountability for violence committed against civilians and other abuses of the ‘War on Terror’ will bring an end to hostilities in Somalia. We call for this unequivocally.”
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