U.S. & French air strikes raise human toll in Somalia
Published Nov 20, 2011 8:59 PM
United States and French military involvement in Africa is taking a deadly toll in the country of Somalia. Despite Washington’s denials, the people of this nation are suffering under the impact of yet another imperialist-driven war.
Kenyan army units crossed over into southern Somalia in October in an operation aimed at eliminating the bases of the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance movement, which controls large sections of this Horn of Africa nation.
French military spokesperson Col. Thierry Burkhard confirmed recently that Paris was flying in airborne equipment to reinforce the Kenyan soldiers. France in recent months has been involved in overthrowing the government of Ivory Coast, regime change in Libya and curbing “piracy” in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa.
The Somalia conflict is part of ongoing campaigns by the Pentagon and NATO to secure large sections of Africa that have strategic value to U.S. and European imperialism. The White House has justified its aggression by labeling Al-Shabaab a “terrorist organization” affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Two U.S. administrations have armed and financed the so-called African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), which has 9,000 troops in Mogadishu protecting a Washington-backed regime.
U.S. drones massacre Somali civilians
Daily drone attacks in Somalia have reportedly resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths in recent weeks. Press TV reported that “79 more people have been killed in U.S. assassination drone attacks in southern Somalia, bringing the deaths to 146 over the past two days. The U.S. military launched terror drone attacks on Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 278 miles southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu.” (Nov. 11)
In addition, on Nov. 11, a French military helicopter crashed near the southern port city of Kismayo, killing nine people. The military chopper went down while providing cover for Kenyan military units attacking Al-Shabaab bases in the vicinity.
These increased air strikes in Somalia are related to deployment of U.S. personnel and weapons in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Drones are being launched in at least five other countries in these regions.
The Washington Post reported on Oct. 27 that the U.S. “has been secretly flying Reaper drones from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethiopia,” spending “millions of dollars to update an airfield in Arba Minch. … The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia.” The Pentagon has denied that the drones are armed, saying they are being used only for surveillance, but the Post article adds that the pilotless planes “can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs.”
Despite the massacres carried out by Washington in Somalia, the Al-Shabaab fighters have continued to launch operations against the Kenyan military forces. On Nov. 11, the Islamic resistance movement said it had killed 30 Kenyan troops and six military trucks in an ambush of a military convoy.
Israel is also getting into the war, and will be participating with Kenya in “intensified offensives inside neighboring Somalia.“ (Press TV, Nov. 14)
This further militarization of southern Somalia coincides with the spread of cholera in the areas of Jilib Town and Hoomboy, where 81 people have died from the waterborne disease. Somali physicians reported that within a 24-hour period starting Nov. 12, 670 children entered medical centers in Mareerey northeast of Jilib.
These areas have been severely impacted by flooding as well. River waters have rushed into districts near Jilib, destroying hundreds of homes. Doctors report increased cases of malaria as well due to the Juba and Shabelle rivers overflowing into many districts.
The AMISOM forces, composed of 9,000 troops from the U.S.-backed regimes of Uganda and Burundi, are working to prop up Somilia’s Transitional Federal Government and its military and police. On Nov. 12, a grenade hit patrolling pro-TFG soldiers in Mogadishu, killing at least six.
Also in the North Mogadishu district of Huriwa, Al-Shabaab was reported to have killed 20 soldiers from TFG units in an exchange of mortar fire. In other fighting in the Dayniile district at least 14 civilians died after the shelling of a residential area from an unknown source.
The human toll from yet another imperialist-sponsored war in Africa grows daily.
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