Alleged deaths of non-combatants in aerial attack in Somalia
Saturday September 9, 2023
Tragic Loss of Life in Airstrike in Central Somalia
Reports indicate that an airstrike targeting Islamist militants in central Somalia has resulted in the deaths of seven innocent civilians, including five children and a grandmother.
The Somali government had previously declared that it successfully eliminated three high-ranking members of the al-Shabab group in El Garas village.
The Somali National News agency, Sonna, reported that the operation was meticulously planned and had a severe impact on the al-Shabab militants.
In a desperate attempt to escape the strike, the three deceased individuals sought refuge in a civilian house, where they were ultimately killed by the attack.
However, the government has refuted any responsibility for the civilian deaths.
According to Abdirahman Yusuf, the Deputy Information Minister of Somalia, “[Al-Shabab] had planted explosive devices in a civilian house, resulting in the tragic loss of innocent lives,” as he explained to the BBC.
Ahmed Nur Mohamud, the husband of 60-year-old Kaha Warsame, who perished in the airstrike alongside her grandchildren, provided his account of the incident. He was approximately 1km away from the house at the time of the bombing, accompanied by his second wife and their children.
“When I tried to contact them, their phones were off,” recalled Ahmed Nur. “I hesitated to approach my family’s house due to the presence of government soldiers. It was only later, upon reaching the house, that I discovered the government had already taken the bodies.”
“I witnessed two bombs hitting my family’s compound, one striking their hut and another hitting the goat’s shelter,” he added.
Multiple witnesses confirmed to the BBC that they observed the Somali army removing the deceased bodies from the house. Furthermore, the Deputy Information Minister confirmed the arrival of Somali soldiers at the scene after the airstrike.
In his quest for closure, Ahmed Nur is pleading to be granted access to the bodies of his wife and grandchildren.
“We have never been associated with al-Shabab. We are innocent civilians. I demand the return of my family’s bodies for a proper burial. I also seek compensation for the loss of my blood relatives,” he expressed.