U.S. refutes reports of civilian deaths in Somalia operation

US military plane

AFRICOM's comments coincided with a report by The Daily Beast on Wednesday that said the operation resulted in 10 civilian deaths.

Following the operation in August, Africom released a statement that acknowledged that "the Somali National Army was conducting an operation in the area with US forces in a supporting role".

The same day, the U.S. military's Africa Command released a statement saying it was conducting a credibility assessment into the allegations.

An August operation by U.S. forces in Somalia that sparked allegations of civilian deaths at the time resulted only in casualties of "armed enemy combatants", U.S. Africa Command said Wednesday.

The Somalia federal government also opened an investigation into the incident, but officials told The Daily Beast that that inquiry confirmed that the farmers were civilians.

However, Africom denied the claim without addressing The Daily Beast story, saying SOCAF conducts detailed planning and coordination to reduce civilian casualties and to ensure compliance with the Law of Armed Conflict before the USA carries out an operation with partner forces.

No immediate response was forthcoming from Somali officials who later clarified that they would investigate the raid themselves, noting that it appeared more than one security operation had taken place.

The Somali government allegedly paid the victims' families between $60,000 to $70,000 each.

At issue is an August 25 operation at a farm near Bariire in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, when Somali troops and USA special forces attacked a suspected hideout for fighters from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab group.

The U.S. -supported raid by Somali forces on August 25 in Bariire village caused an uproar, with bodies laid out in the capital, Mogadishu, for display.

United States news site the Daily Beast published a lengthy story shortly before AFRICOM released its statement, saying it had uncovered strong evidence that USA special forces troops had killed civilians in the incident.

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