Somalia: US changes its policy concerning sharing details of deaths and damages of its airstrikes

The U.S. Africa Command, General David M. Rodriguez. Photo: RR

NEWSROOM (ADV) – For more than a year, the U.S. Africa Command has been issuing regular press releases after each U.S. airstrike in Somalia detailing now many strikes were conducted and how many al-Shabaab militants were believed to have been killed.

But in the latest release announcing two airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, on Jan. 23, 2019, no estimate of enemy dead included.

“We no longer discuss battle damage assessments resulting from our airstrikes,” said Maj. Karl Wiest, a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, in response to an inquiry from the Washington Examiner.

“While enemy casualties are an expected outcome of strike operations, the resulting number of EKIA [Enemy Killed in Action] is much less important to understand than how these strikes are helping our Somali partners achieve their strategic security objectives,” Wiest added.

So far in 2019, the U.S. says drone or manned aircraft have conducted eight strikes and killed 78 suspected terrorists, a faster pace than last year in which 41 strikes were said to have killed 323 al-Shabaab militants.

The U.S. Africa Command did not say what prompted the change in policy regarding withholding body counts, but it follows a general trend by the Pentagon not to release any information that could be of use to the enemy or against them.

© Bur-csa – S.E – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng