U.S. strike victim’s family in Somalia call for investigation
MOGADISHU, Somalia, – U.S. air raid has killed a businessman named as ‘Abow Ali Wardiyow’, in his early 40s of 11 children from 3 wives near Kunya-Barow town, some 260km south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Wardiyow’s vehicle was hit 3 missiles fired by a US drone on June 25, 2019, after on his way to home from returning a hospital where he took some victims, his uncle said.
The victim was among a few businessmen living in Lower Shabelle, a region largely under Al-Shabaab control outside the Somali capital Mogadishu.
He says he had seen his son’s body which was cut into three pieces after visiting where the US drone strike hit his son’s vehicle just 18km away from the town.
Wardiyow’s uncle said his son was not member or fight alongside al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked group battling UN-backed government of Somalia-based in Mogadishu.
He and other family relatives buried Wardiyow’s body in the town while tears running down his cheeks and his voice cracking with emotion.
He added Wardiyow left behind 11 children.
The U.S. military said it had killed an al Shabaab fighter in a drone strike carried out near Kunya-Barow town, a day after Wardiyow’s burial, in a statement released by Africom command.
The victim’s family called on the US government to carry out impartial and urgent investigations over Wardiyow’s death.
The US Africom command said it had received reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from the June 25, 2019 airstrike in the vicinity of Kunyo Barrow town.
The command says it will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties.
“As with any allegation of civilian casualties we receive, U.S. Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties.”
“If USAFRICOM is able to make a determination that U.S. military forces are responsible for the loss of life, limb, or eyesight, USAFRICOM will then determine the next appropriate step. USAFRICOM complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions during the targeting process to minimize civilian casualties and other collateral damage”.
The US military says its assessment has been ongoing.
On March 20, 2019, Amnesty International said 14 civilians were killed during five U.S. airstrikes in Somalia in the last two years after interviewing 65 eyewitnesses.
The rights group says those strikes took place in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region from October 2017 to December 2018.
But, U.S. military strongly denies the allegations.
On August 2017, a joint raid by the US, Somali troops allegedly killed 10 Somali civilians in Barire town, some 60km west of Mogadishu.
The US strikes in Somalia surged after 30 March 2017, when President Trump signed an Executive Order declaring southern Somalia an “area of active hostilities”.