Ten civilians were killed in a joint U.S.-Somali military raid on a farming village last week, Somali government officials confirmed on Thursday.
The attack was carried out in Bariire village on Friday, August 25, as part of the joint U.S.-Somali counterterrorism mission aimed at defeating al-Shabaab.
The deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region, Ali Nur Mohamed, said the victims, including three children, were executed “one by one” by U.S. and Somali troops who raided the village as part of a joint counterterrorism operation.
“These local farmers were attacked by foreign troops while looking after their crops. The troops could have arrested them because they were unarmed but instead shot them one by one mercilessly,” Mr. Mohamed said.
Reuters reports that the Somali government will compensate the families of the victims.
After reports of the massacre emerged on Friday, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed that U.S. troops were in Bariire village and said it would carry out an investigation into the matter, emphasizing that it takes “any allegations of civilian casualties seriously.”
“We can confirm that the Somali National Army was conducting an operation in the area with U.S. forces in a supportive role,” the Command’s press statement read, adding that it was “conducting an assessment into the situation to determine the facts on the ground.”
However, AFRICOM has yet to comment further since releasing its initial statement on Friday.
The Somali government had similarly stated that it would investigate the matter, and released its findings on Thursday which confirmed that U.S. and Somali troops killed 10 civilians.
After taking office in January, U.S. President Donald Trump approved an expansion of U.S. military operations in Somalia in order to rid the country of al-Shabaab extremists.