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Pentagon probing raid that allegedly killed five Somali civilians

Pentagon probing raid that allegedly killed five Somali civilians
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The Pentagon is investigating reports that a raid this week in Somalia involving U.S. forces led to the death of five civilians, officials said in a statement Friday.

Tribal leaders in southern Somalia said five farmers were killed during the Wednesday raid, which included U.S. and Somali special operations troops, Agence France-Presse reported.

U.S. Africa Command (Africom) acknowledged that the raid took place, and said American forces, acting in an advise-and-assist capacity, "partnered in a Somali-led operation to disrupt and degrade” the terrorist network of the al Qaeda aligned al-Shabaab group near Bulcida.

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“We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this operation, and we take these reports seriously,” Africom officials said. “As with any allegations of civilian casualties we receive, U.S. Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties. If the information supporting the allegation is determined to be credible, USAFRICOM will determine the next appropriate step.”

This is the second time in a year that U.S. forces have been blamed for civilian deaths during raids in Somalia.

The Daily Beast reported in November that there was strong evidence U.S. special operation forces were involved in the deaths of 10 unarmed civilians — including at least one child — during an Aug. 25 mission.

Africom rejected the claims and said that, after a “thorough assessment,” officials “concluded that the only casualties were those of armed enemy combatants.”

Command head Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser referred the matter to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for a second investigation into the August raid.