You may have not been familiar with the subject, it is likely it takes some effort for you to imagine the AFRICOM at all, it is possible you have never been to Africa before, but what you surely can come up with is a sudden knock on your door during a peaceful weekend, a shattering voice crashing your plans for life, taking your children away, men in uniform abusing your wife, or your mother, the horror in their eyes, your terrified children whom you will never see again or worse, they will never see you.
That is exactly what happened in Mogadishu, 5 a.m. when Abdullahi Elmi heard the gunshots. As a farm staff member, he was sitting at his table finishing the day’s paperwork. His wife and his 3-year-old son were beside him dozing off in a bed. What happened next horrified both of them as the gunfire drew closer to their farm so that they had to sprint to the nearest banana grove to seek some safety.
Having laid low for some time they came back to the house and Abdullahi with a neighbor were checking the area when they saw the Somali National Army soldiers coming close.
“I put my hands up and they told us you are under arrest, then I heard the noise from their big cars and I knew this was more than just a clan fight,” Elmi said. “They told my wife to go back in our home and then they went inside to search. I was pleading with them not to take anything.”
When the soldiers finished the house search, they made the men move with them toward the shooting scene. There Abdullahi and his neighbor saw their village farmers’ bodies on the ground. The small pot one of them had been using to make tea was forgotten near the corpses. They also saw what they later said to be at least 20 American soldiers standing around the dead farmers. Abdullahi’s heart sank as he heard his friend, Ali-waay, groaning and asking for help, blood from a gunshot wound flowing out around him.
One of the Somali soldiers then commanded Abdullahi to get on the ground.
Then a boot belonging to an American soldier stepped on his head.
The AFRICOM operation had at least 10 civilians dead that day on August 25, 2017.