By Carla Babb
The U.S. military will investigate conflicting reports on Wednesday’s deadly U.S. airstrike in Somalia, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said.
“In this instance as in all instances, when questions are raised about the actions of U.S. airstrikes, we pursue them,” Carter told reporters during a news conference in Hawaii.
Carter said the U.S. had not yet looked into this particular airstrike, but would share the results once an investigation is complete.
He added that there was no other military more committed to the “principles of openness and transparency and accountability” than the United States.
“That also acknowledges the fact that there have been mistakes made over time and we try to stick to, stand up and hold ourselves accountable when that happens,” he said.
Somalia’s government has demanded an explanation from the United States for the strike, which Somali officials said killed 13 members of local government forces in Galmudug, a Somali federal state.
The Pentagon said in a news release Thursday that a “self-defense” strike near the town of Galkayo killed at least nine al-Shabab militants.
Galmudug state Vice President Mohamed Hashi Abdi told VOA’s Somali service that the American forces were “misguided” by a request that came from officials in the semi-autonomous Puntland region.
Regional Security Minister Osman Isse Nur also blamed intelligence forces in the neighboring Puntland administration for giving the U.S. incorrect information.
Residents in Galkayo protested the strike Thursday by burning the U.S. flag.
The U.S. has carried out numerous airstrikes in Somalia targeting al-Shabab members, including a missile strike that killed the group’s former emir, Ahmed Abdi Godane, in 2014.