Over the weekend, US warplanes carried out at least six airstrikes against the coastal town of Gandarsh, Somalia. US African Command (Africom) says 62 people were killed in the strikes, and all were “terrorists” from al-Shabaab.
34 people were killed on Saturday, and 28 more on Sunday. The identities of the slain are not clear, and there is no way to verify Africom’s claims. This is, however, standard operating procedure for them, to both label all slain as militants, and to say they don’t think any civilians were killed or wounded.
This often doesn’t remain the case, however. When the US is striking a large number of people inside a populated area, it’s very unusual not to have some civilians killed along the way. Yet in remote places like Somalia, it often takes days to find that out.
In the meantime, the Pentagon has virtually total control over the narrative, and sticks to formulaic releases meant to spin the strikes as legal, claiming they preempted a plot, without providing any evidence of such a plot.