US Airstrikes Are Displacing Large Numbers of Somali Civilians

Escalation of strikes is fueling a humanitarian crisis

Parts of Somalia are always on the brink of humanitarian crisis in the best of times. Two years of ever-growing US airstrikes against Lower and Middle Shabelle, however, have made things much worse there, as they’ve fueled a large displacement problem.

There are an estimated 450,000 internally-displaced persons from the Shabelle regions, which are nominally al-Shabaab territory, with regular US airstrikes against the area having convinced many it isn’t safe to stay in their homes.

Overwhelmingly, the displaced people fled in 2018. This makes sense because the US launched many more strikes in those areas in 2018 than they did in 2017. The UN confirmed the displacement numbers, saying there was a notable increase since 2017.

This is a particular problem in this part of Somalia, where the Mogadishu-based government has little to no authority, and the US has little to no inclination to make any provisions for the bystanders they displace in the air war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of