Rights group warns US not to repeat past ‘violations’ in Somalia ahead of redeployment of troops

Somalia
Relatives mourn the killing of their kin in an attack by Somali forces and supported by U.S. troops, at the Madina hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Human Rights Watch has called on the United States to avoid repeating past violations in Somalia after US President Joe Biden approved redeployment of special forces to the Horn of Africa country, which has been plagued by decades of conflict and political strife.

US officials should be very clear on how their forces will avoid harming Somali civilians during military operations,” the rights group said in a statement issued on Friday. “They will need to work closely with Somali and African Union authorities to avoid repeating past laws of war violations and promptly and appropriately respond to civilian loss.”

Following the election of new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud last week, Biden approved the deployment of nearly 500 American special forces back to Somalia to help Somali security forces and African Union troops fight Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab. The move reversed a decision by former US leader Donald Trump to withdraw nearly all 700 American troops in the country. read more

The US based rights group mentioned February 2 and March 2020 US air strikes that killed at least seven civilians “in apparent violation of the laws of war”. While AFRICOM claimed responsibility for the air raids, none of the civilians harmed received compensation, it added.

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