This is a report I did for the BBC about Amnesty's recent findings on civilian deaths and US airstrikes in Somalia.
The rights group, Amnesty International, says it has unearthed evidence that recent US drone strikes in Somalia killed and injured civilians. The US has significantly increased air strikes against the Islamist group Al Shabaab since Donald Trump took office. It has only admitted to killing two civilians – a woman and a child in 2018 – since it started its air campaign in Somalia more than a decade ago. Our Africa Editor Mary Harper reports:
Amnesty says an eighteen year old woman and a fifty-three year old banana farmer were killed in two separate drone strikes, one in the town of Jilib, the other in Kumbareere village. Three others were injured. The US acknowledged the attacks but said they killed what it described as Al Shabaab ‘terrorists’. Amnesty analysed satellite images and video evidence, as well as speaking to family members and the victims’ communities, who insisted the dead were not members of the militant group. Amnesty says US air strikes have in total killed more than twenty Somali civilians. It is possible the deaths of civilians will radicalise their family members, pushing them towards Al Shabaab. On Tuesday the US military announced it would from next month publish reports on allegations of civilian casualties in its Africa operations. The US is involved in counter-terror operations across the continent, principally in the Sahel and in the east and Horn of Africa.