News Release

“People are fed up with the Americans and Danab …They are killing without excuse”

AMANDA SPERBER, via Jessica Stites, jessica at inthesetimes.com
Sperber just wrote the piece “U.S.-Assisted Raid in Somalia Killed Two Civilians, Villagers Say” for In These Times magazine. The piece gives local testimony that provides a rarely reported window into U.S. ground operations in Somalia.

Sperber writes: “When it was over, [James Ali] Khamis rejoined his family. His wife had vomited from anxiety and his seven-year-old son had passed out from fear. Khamis, a village leader, spent some minutes checking to make sure everyone in the community of about 10 total households was safe. His sister Waliyo Cali Qaasim was missing.

“A search party found her less than 10 minutes later, lying by the side of the road.

“‘It looked like she was sleeping,’ Khamis says. He rushed to her. Her body was already cold. She had been shot to death. The gun apparently had a silencer, muting the crack of the shot into that whisper of wind….

“The whole village of Shanta Baraako knew that Khamis’ brother-in-law — the husband of one of his other sisters — had been hosting [Abdikadir] Sufi. Khamis says that many in the community had been unhappy with Sufi’s stay and wanted him to leave, arguing (with correct foresight) that a mid-level al Shabab leader in their village made life more dangerous.

“As Danab [U.S. trained militia] and the United States make headway in Lower Shabelle, they have become the subject of more and more accusations of civilian casualties and arbitrary arrests. Mahat Dore, a member of Parliament based in Marka, a main town in Lower Shabelle, has recorded six incidents in which civilians were killed and property destroyed since April 4.

“’People are fed up with the Americans and Danab,’ he says. ‘They are killing without excuse. They are arresting without excuse.’

“According to Dore, people call him after a raid to report what happened. He also says he has visited prisons and villages to see dead bodies and damaged property. Dore claims that he sent a message to a Somali staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. Dore also shared photos of the flash bangs [explosive] made by the Pennsylvania-based company Combined Systems, which he collected from the villages. The police commissioner in Lower Shabelle knows what’s happening, Dore tells In These Times, but says the Somali government in Mogadishu ‘is not ready to advocate.'”