The government of Somalia has demanded a proper explanation from the US after an airstrike by US forces was alleged to have killed 22 Somalian soldiers and civilians.
The US said that the raid, which took place in the central Somali region of Galmudug, killed nine members of militant Islamist group al-Shabab. Somalia’s government, however, corrected that conclusion stating that the dead people were civilians and members of the Galmudug regional army.
In the aftermath, angry crowds of protesters are burning the US flag and pictures of President Barack Obama and Somalia’s government is still requesting an explanation from the US for the air raid. A government statement said:
“The cabinet requests the US government give a clear explanation about the attack its planes carried out on the Galmudug forces.”
Accusations have, however, been leveled by officials in the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug against officials in a likewise semi-autonomous rival region, Puntland. According to the officials of Galmudug, the rival region had misled the US into believing those targeted were members of the al-Shabab armed group.
Washington said that the US simply carried out a “self-defence air strike” after Somali troops faced fire from al-Shabab fighters. According to them, nine fighters had been killed, but they are looking into reports others may also have died. Reuters news agency reported that Washington also urged both Galmudug and Puntland, which have often clashed over territory in the past, to mend relations.
Al-Shabab has been waging a war against the central government of Somalia for nearly a decade, carrying out often major attacks on military and civilian targets.
The US has lent help to Somalia and has often bombed al-Shabab positions and commanders in a bid to support the government along with being a major donor to Somalia’s government in Mogadishu.