29, September 2016
US forces have been accused of killing 22 Somali troops in what is said to be a misdirected airstrike in the country’s northern regions. On Wednesday, Galmudug states’ Security Minister Osman Issa announced that his soldiers were killed in the airstrike, adding that the attack was launched on a request of from the rival neighboring region of Puntland on the pretext that the targets were al-Shabab militants. “Puntland misinformed the United States and thus our forces were bombed,” he said.
Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis claimed that US forces had engaged in a “self-defense airstrike” after Somali troops were attacked by militants during operations to halt a bomb manufacturing network. He added that nine al-Shabaab militants were killed in the attack, while noting that the Pentagon was considering the false information claims.
“We will look at the reports to see if they are credible and if they are credible we’ll investigate them,” he said. A Puntland police source told reporters that over a dozen militants were killed in the attack. Meanwhile, al-Shabaab denied the casualties on its side, saying that it had no members in the region at the time of the attack.
Somalia has been the scene of fighting between al-Shabab and government forces since 2006. In 2011, al-Shabab, striving to topple the government, was driven out of the capital Mogadishu and other major cities by government troops and AMISOM forces, which are largely made up of troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Kenya.