US to release drone death toll; air strike kills 150 in Somalia

In Pakistan alone, at least 1927 people have been killed by drones since 2009, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journali

The U.S. government will release a count of how many people it has killed in "counterterrorism" strikes since 2009, the Obama administration announced on March 7. Meanwhile, US air strikes killed 150 people in Somalia, in an attackt he US said was targetted at the al-Shabab terrorist group, an affiliate of al-Qaida.

The US government has said it will release a count of how many people it has killed in "counterterrorism" strikes since 2009. Since taking office, President Barack Obama has dramatically escalated the US's reliance on unmanned drones, launching deadly strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

In Pakistan alone, at least 1927 people have been killed by drones since 2009, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, with at least 249 of the dead civilians.

The US count of the dead will be released "in the coming weeks," said Lisa Monaco, Obama's counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC.

According to the Associated Press, the count "isn't expected to detail the specific countries where people died, instead offering an aggregate assessment".

Human rights groups have long demanded greater transparency with respect to the US's covert air wars.

"This is a step in the right direction, but doesn't go nearly far enough," said Cori Crider, an attorney for drone victims with the human rights group Reprieve.

"In every region where we have pursued an aggressive, secret drone policy, militancy has gotten stronger. It's not enough to tally up the drones' dead body count — we need a thorough reassessment of the program itself."

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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