Army claims no civilian casualties have occurred since Donald Trump authorised strikes and raids to fight al-Shabaab insurgency in country
'The US military may be guilty of war crimes for killing large numbers of civilians in a sharply stepped-up campaign of air strikes in Somalia over the past two years, Amnesty International has said.
The organisation says it had been able to document 14 civilians killed in investigations of just five air strikes, a tiny fraction of at least 110 such strikes that the US military says it has launched since June 2017.
The US military rejected Amnesty's report. It says it has killed 800 militants in air strikes in Somalia over that period, but has not wounded or killed a single civilian.
"We currently assess no civilian casualties have occurred as a result of any US Africa Command air strikes," the US military's Africa command AFRICOM said in en emailed response to Reuters.
Brian Castner, Amnesty International's senior crisis adviser on arms and military operations, said the civilian death toll suggested that the "shroud of secrecy surrounding the US role in Somalia's war is actually a smokescreen for impunity".
"Members of the US government forces who planned and carried out the air strikes may have committed violations of international humanitarian law, including unlawful killings, which could amount to war crimes," Amnesty's report said.'
Read more: US airstrikes are killing ‘large numbers’ of civilians in Somalia, Amnesty says