1 killed, 3 injured in U.S. military airstrike in Somalia: AFRICOM
CGTN
One civilian was killed and three others were injured in an airstrike conducted by the United States military in Somalia earlier in the year, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a report. /AFRICOM

One civilian was killed and three others were injured in an airstrike conducted by the United States military in Somalia earlier in the year, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a report. /AFRICOM

One civilian was killed and three others were injured in an airstrike conducted by the United States military in Somalia earlier in the year, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a report.

AFRICOM on Tuesday released its second quarterly civilian casualty assessment report which it said was part of its commitment to improving transparency and accountability in its assessment and reporting of civilian casualty allegations.

The incident occurred in early February in the vicinity of the town of Jilib in southern Somalia. AFRICOM reported at the time that one terrorist had been killed. AFRICOM said it received eight allegations of civilian casualties after the incident.

"After a thorough assessment of the facts and circumstances following an airstrike on Feb. 2, 2020, USAFRICOM substantiates the allegations of the death of one civilian and three injured, who were not visible when we delivered the strike against the targeted individual,"AFRICOM said in a statement.

AFRICOM said that the incident had been reported to the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, the U.S. Congress, and the Federal Government of Somalia.

Jilib has been identified as one of Al-Shabaab's strongholds in the southern region and has seen an increase in security operations with the U.S. military conducting at least six airstrikes in the area so far in 2020.

AFRICOM commander U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said that the military works hard to avoid civilian casualties during such operations aimed at bringing increased security and stability to Somalia.

"Our goal is to always minimize impact to civilians. Unfortunately, we believe our operations caused the inadvertent death of one person and injury to three others who we did not intend to target," Townsend said.

AFRICOM said that its civilian casualty assessment varies with that of other organisations, including the NGO community, due to various factors. Some of them include AFRICOM's reliable layered intelligence sources which are not available to the public and limited access to areas where AFRICOM conducts military operations or airstrikes.

AFRICOM said four incidents remained open and under review, from a total of 11 incidents, including three from the previous report.

In AFRICOM's first report published in April, it acknowledged that an airstrike on February 23 in the vicinity of Kunyo Barrow killed two civilians were killed and injured three others. 

Two Al-Shabaab militants were also killed in the airstrike.

Last year in March, human rights group Amnesty International called for the United States to do an independent investigation into allegations that its increased air strikes in Somalia had killed several civilians.

(With input from AFRICOM)