The United States military has not adequately investigated two air raids in Somalia earlier this year that have killed at least seven civilians, including a child, according to the Human Rights Watch (HRW). In a report released on Tuesday, the rights group said the killing of the civilians was in apparent violation of the laws of war. The HRW was referring to incidents on February 2 and March 10 in Jilib and Janaale, where no evidence of a military target involving the al-Shabab armed group was found, according to the report. Al-Shabab is an al-Qaeda-linked group fighting to overthrow Somalia's internationally recognised government. It once controlled much of the country, but it was forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 and has since lost most of its other strongholds.
President Donald Trump has been pushing to wind down military operations in Syria and Afghanistan. Congress has belatedly been scrutinizing the American role in Yemen. But at the same time, the Trump administration has been dramatically escalating its military operations in Somalia, with little public scrutiny or debate about the operation's goals or consequences. Just weeks after taking office, Trump issued an order designating parts of Somalia an "area of active hostilities," which substantially relaxed restrictions on the targets and potential civilian casualties of air- and ground strikes. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of the U.S. Africa Command, has declined to characterize the U.S. as "at war" in Somalia in congressional testimony, but the area of active hostilities designation and the corresponding uptick in strikes suggest the military is effectively treating the country as a war zone.
MOGADISHU, Somalia – U.S. forces say they have carried out three drone strikes within 24 hours in Somalia, stepping up their campaign against the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab and the Islamic State group. The strikes by unmanned drones killed several extremist fighters, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military command in Africa told The Associated Press Sunday. With these three attacks, the U.S. has now carried out 26 attacks in Somalia against extremist targets in 2017, she said. The latest U.S. strikes were carried out in coordination with Somalia's government, she said. The first strike happened Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m. local Somalia time and it killed one fighter for the extremists group, al-Shabab, said a U.S. Africa command statement.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A U.S. service member has been killed in Somalia during an operation against the extremist group al-Shabab — the first U.S. combat death there in more than two decades — as the United States steps up its fight against the al-Qaida-linked organization in a country that remains largely chaos.
Somalis stand outside a destroyed building after a car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 22, 2018. At least 14 people were killed and 10 others wounded in a car bomb blast near a hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, Somali officials said Thursday. Mohamed Hussein said the explosion occurred near the Weheliye hotel on the busy Makka Almukarramah road. The road has been a target of attacks in the past by the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa. Most of the casualties were passers-by and traders, Hussein told The Associated Press.