The campaign group Amnesty International has welcomed the announcement by the U.S African Military Command (Africom) to release civilian casualty figures in Somalia during its war against terror groups but noted the move was long overdue.
Amnesty said in a statement Wednesday the decision by Africom was a step to providing truth for victims of the military airstrikes in the Horn of Africa nation which Amnesty notes had resulted in over 20 civilian casualties.
“This is a welcome, though long overdue, step towards providing truth and accountability for the victims of US air strikes and their families in Somalia and beyond. It’s shocking that it has taken more than a decade of AFRICOM’s secret air war in Somalia for this to happen,” Amnesty Director for East and Africa, Deprose Muchena said.
Africom announced Wednesday it will, from this April issue quarterly casualty reports for its operations in Somalia, Libya and other African nations.
“To demonstrate our transparency and commitment to protecting civilians from unnecessary harm, we plan to publicize our initial report by the end of April and we will provide quarterly updates thereafter,” Africom commander General Stephen Townsend said.
Africom said the decision to release casualty figures was ‘designed to increase transparency regarding civilian casualty allegations that are reported to the command and will demonstrate the U.S. military’s constant commitment to minimizing collateral damage in the pursuit of military operations.’
Amnesty said Tuesday two civilians had been killed in February by US airstrikes in Somalia adding to 21 killed in 2019 and 11 wounded.