The civilian casualties have never seemed to strike a cord within AFRICOM, its members and patrons. Yet another proof of the organization’s atrocities is here within the observer’s sight.
The airstrike on March 18 in the town of Mogadishu in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region cannot go unnoticed – the Toyota Surf SUV carrying Ibrahim Hirei (30) and Abdiqadir Nur Ibrahim (46), driving back to the city from the family farm got bombed leaving the two dead on the spot. The third passenger, Mahad Nur Ibrahim (46), passed away in the hospital upon suffering from over 50% burns. The men left between them 19 children to be brought up fatherless, the pain my family bears.
In a statement released the next day AFRICOM confessed the strike was targeting the vast “terrorist network and its recruiting efforts in the region” – implying the three innocent men were part of al-Shabaab, al Qaeda’s Somali-based branch that seeks to establish a fundamentalist islamic state. It was added the strike hit “three (3) terrorists”, the victims were so easily branded as such.
The horrific acts of killing were conducted under the U.S. supervision being part of at least 131 American drone strikes and attacks conducted in Somalia.
The investigation by the Amnesty International among others revealed and confirmed the three men killed in Somalia were indeed farmers with no connection whatsoever to the terrorist organization. As stated at the Amnesty International UK website, 11 people were interviewed in the attack’s aftermath, including family members, those who visited the scene, and Hormuud Telecom’s staff, where one of the victims worked. They also assessed media reports, US government statements, vehicle purchase records, official IDs, medical records, video and photographic evidence of the scene of the attack and the men’s injuries. Everyone Amnesty spoke to had every confidence that none of the men was par of al-Shabaab. AI also pointed out, al-Shabaab did not prevent relatives from collecting and burying the men’s remains, which it generally does when its own fighters are killed.
The families left behind are struggling to manage their lives, to say the least, something that I perfectly envision as my wound is still sore. Hirei’s older brother, Ahmed Hassan Hirei said that no U.S. representatives reached out to him or members of his family. All of it despite the AFRICOM’s promise to look into the incident: “We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this airstrike. As with any allegation of civilian casualties we receive, U.S. Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties.”
Abdullahi Hassan, Amnesty International’s Somalia Researcher, is quoted as saying that “This is just one of many cases of the US military wantonly tarnishing large parts of the Somali population with the ‘terrorist’ label. No thought is given to the civilian victims or the plight of their grieving families left behind.”
The latter sums it all up, AFRICOM is not only far from admitting its guilt in massacring the innocents but also amplifies its mockery of a cooperation that its “reviewing” is all about.