The Daily Beast on Wednesday published details about the U.S. troops’ alleged role in the reported killing of 10 civilians, at least 1 of whom was a child, in Bariire, Somalia.
That incident occurred during the early hours of August 25.
U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs initially said only members of al-Shabab, a militia linked to al-Qaeda, were killed and that U.S. soldiers served only a supportive role.
That explanation has since been under a great deal of scrutiny.
The Daily Beast spoke with numerous people with knowledge of the incident and reports, “The details that emerged paint a damning picture of at least one U.S. ground operation in the African nation.”
It describes the operation as being U.S.-led and based on non-vetted intelligence from individuals known to be unreliable.
The Daily Beast further suggests that according to inside sources, the results of a Somali-led investigation into the killings were suppressed at the behest of American diplomats.
However, a statement by U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, released on Wednesday, states, “the only casualties were those of armed enemy combatants.”
It also offers assurances that U.S. Special Operations Command Africa conducts “detailed planning and coordination to reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties and to ensure compliance with the Law of Armed Conflict.”
In another media release titled, ‘Why the U.S. Military is in Somalia,’ it provided details on the operations in Somalia.
“Our military actions, to include strikes against the Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabaab terrorist group and – more recently – against a new Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-aligned group, are done in support and with the concurrence of the Federal Government of Somalia,” the command noted. “Our policy is to support Somalia-led efforts to encourage members of the Al-Shabaab and ISIS to defect and pledge support to the Somali Government. When that is not possible, our military policy to target these groups is in accordance with the laws of armed conflict and in support of our broader stabilization goals.”