Somalia asks US to explain strike that ‘killed troops’

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Somalia’s government has requested an
explanation from the United States for an air raid it
says killed 22 soldiers and civilians in the north of
the country.

Officials in the semi-autonomous region of
Galmudug said a US bombing killed members of
its forces and accused a rival region, Puntland,
which is also semi-autonomous, of misleading the
US into believing those targeted were members of
the al-Shabab armed group.

“The cabinet requests the US government give a
clear explanation about the attack its planes
carried out on the Galmudug forces,” a government
statement said.
It also urged both Galmudug and Puntland, which
have often clashed over territory in the past, to
mend relations, the Reuters news agency reported.
Washington said the United States carried out a
“self-defence air strike” after Somali troops faced
fire from al-Shabab fighters. It said nine fighters
had been killed but that it was looking into reports
others may also have died.
The United States, a major donor to Somalia’s
government in Mogadishu, has often bombed al-
Shabab positions and commanders in a bid to
support the government.
‘Al-Shabab not in the area’
Al-Shabab has been waging a war against the
central government for nearly a decade, carrying
out often major attacks on military and civilian
targets.
Since being pushed out of major cities and towns,
the group has resorted to guerrilla attacks across
the Horn of Africa country and in other countries in
the region such as Kenya.
In a separate statement, Somali General Ali Bashi
said the Somali army had confirmed that
Galmudug forces and civilians were killed in the
raid, describing it as a case of “friendly fire”.
The general also said al-Shabab was not in the
area, confirming an earlier statement from the
rebels that they had no forces there at the time of
the attack, which happened overnight from
Tuesday to Wednesday.
Protesters in Galmudug’s capital Galkayo burned
US flags and images of President Barack Obama in
protest on Wednesday, witnesses said.
Somalia has been struggling to rebuild after two
decades of war. The conflict that began in 1991
has left the country riven by clan rivalries and
struggling with the conflict between the
government and al-Shabab.

Source: Agencies

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