The head of US forces in Africa has ordered an additional investigation into an August raid in Somalia by Somali and American forces, the US military said.
Last month, the US military said it did not kill any civilians when it accompanied Somali forces on a deadly raid in Bariire.
At the time, it described the dead as “enemy combatants” and members of al Shabaab, the al-Qaeda linked insurgent group.
Eyewitnesses told Reuters 10 civilians were killed and the military was drawn into a local clan conflict.
In a statement, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said it referred the incident to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service after media reports alleged misconduct by US personnel to “ensure a full exploration of the facts given the gravity of the allegations.”
“AFRICOM takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will leverage the expertise of appropriate organisations to ensure allegations are fully and impartially investigated,” the statement said.
The United States stepped up operations in Somalia this year after President Donald Trump loosened restrictions on the military’s operations in March. A Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia in May, the first US combat casualty there since Somali militiamen shot down a Black Hawk helicopter in 1993.
The United States ramped up the use of air strikes, conducting twice as many strikes this year as last year.
Somalia has been riven by civil war since 1991. It now has a weak, internationally-backed government, supported by African peacekeepers.