US denies killing civilian in Somalia
The US military on Wednesday denied killing a Somali civilian in a strike last week against Al-Shabaab militants, providing rare details of its operations against the jihadist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
US Africa Command disputed reports from two news outlets that said an innocent civilian was killed in the precision air strike near the southern town of Jamaame on Friday.
"These allegations are based on al-Shabaab propaganda and are false," Africom said.
"The terrorist that was killed in the Apr 10 air strike was an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six innocent Somalis."
To support its claim, Africom -- which has been accused by Amnesty International of concealing the number of civilian victims in its almost daily drone strikes -- gave details of the incident.
"Immediately prior to the air strike, this al-Shabaab terrorist displayed the murdered bodies of Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in a village," the statement said.
"Once isolated in a remote and secluded area, the terrorist was killed by an air strike."
Africom named one of the news outlets as "al-Shabaab associated news affiliate SomaliMemo."
Army Major General William Gayler said that "it was a war crime by an al-Shabaab terrorist who desecrated bodies to scare and intimidate innocent Somalis into submission."
Amnesty last year accused the US military of indiscriminately hitting civilians, killing farmers, workers and even children in Somalia.
After an internal investigation, the military admitted responsibility for the death of a woman and a child.