In the latest quarterly civilian casualty assessment report period ending Dec. 31, 2022, U.S. Africa Command received two reports of civilian casualties on Sept. 23, 2022 and Oct. 1, 2022.
After a thorough assessment of the facts and circumstances, U.S. Africa Command found the Sept. 23 report unsubstantiated. The Sept. 23 report alleged civilian casualties related to a Sept. 9 strike. U.S. Africa Command did not conduct a strike on Sept. 9.
After a thorough assessment of the facts and circumstances, U.S. Africa Command found the Oct. 1 report unsubstantiated. On Oct. 1, 2022 an airstrike was conducted against two al-Shabaab members.
This is the 12th quarterly civilian casualty assessment report since U.S. Africa Command began releasing reports in April 2020. The reports are part of the command’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
U.S. Africa Command takes all reports of possible civilian casualties seriously and has a process to conduct thorough assessments using all available information. The command will continue to maintain and improve the civilian casualty assessment program and remains committed to reviewing and assessing any reports of civilian harm.
U.S. Africa Command’s assessment of reports of civilian casualties occasionally differ from other organizations, including Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) for a number of reasons. The command’s information is based on reliable and layered intelligence sources and classified operational reporting which are not available to the public. This can contribute to perceived discrepancies between the command’s results and those of others.
Consistent with the Department of Defense Law of War Manual, “civilian” and “combatant” are defined as follows:
Civilian: Persons who are not combatants (members of military/security forces or members of either a declared hostile force or an organized armed group of a party to an armed conflict).
Civilians may lose their protection against attacks if demonstrating hostile intent, engaging in a hostile act, or for such time as they take direct part in hostilities; but they retain or regain such protection when they cease said conduct, or if they become wounded, sick, detained, or surrender, and thereby are unable to continue said conduct. All personnel in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility received the protections of civilian status, unless they are positively identified as legitimate military targets.
Combatant: Persons directly participating in an armed conflict, or persons whose hostile actions have purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the U.S. individuals who are formally or functionally part of a non-State armed group that is engaged in hostilities may be made the object of attack because they likewise share in their group’s hostile intent.
Note: Where reports of civilian casualties are determined to be unsubstantiated, it means there was insufficient information to validate or substantiate the reports. When new information is received, a report of civilian casualties can be reassessed. Until that occurs, the assessment is considered complete.
There are currently no open incidents.