Pentagon Neglects Compensation for Innocent Victims in 2022, Ignoring Evidence of Mother and Child Killed by U.S. Forces in Somalia

The United States neglected to offer any compensation to the family of a woman and her 4-year-old daughter killed in a drone strike in Somalia in 2018, as per a recent Pentagon report on civilian casualties. The report, issued almost a year behind schedule, reveals that the Pentagon made no ex gratia payments in 2022, despite allocating funds for such purposes.

The drone strike in Somalia on April 1, 2018, resulted in the deaths of at least three, possibly five, civilians, including 22-year-old Luul Dahir Mohamed and her 4-year-old daughter Mariam Shilow Muse. Although a U.S. military investigation acknowledged the deaths, their identities remained unknown.

For over five years, the family tried to reach out to the U.S. government through various channels but received no response. Abdi Dahir Mohamed, Luul’s brother, expressed disappointment at the lack of accountability or explanation from the authorities.

The Pentagon’s report, initially due on May 1, 2023, stated that there were no civilian casualties from U.S. military operations in 2022. It also mentioned the absence of ex gratia payments to civilians affected by operations in 2022 or the families of those killed in previous incidents.

Annie Shiel, the U.S. advocacy director at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, criticized the Defense Department for not making any payments in 2022 despite having millions allocated for such purposes. The Pentagon did not provide a comment on the matter.

After more than 17 years of military actions in Somalia, including drone strikes and raids, the U.S. conducted 288 declared attacks. The military claims to have killed only five civilians during this period but may have vastly underestimated the true number, according to Airwars.

In 2022, the Pentagon introduced a plan to address noncombatant casualties more effectively called the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan. Congress allocates significant funds annually for compensating families affected by U.S. attacks, but the Defense Department has been reluctant to own up to its errors and compensate victims.

In late 2022, elected officials petitioned the Pentagon to provide reparations to victims of U.S. attacks, specifically mentioning Luul and Mariam’s family. Efforts continue in 2024 to hold the Pentagon accountable and ensure compensation for civilian casualties.

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