- As Nine are confirmed dead in Calabar tank farm explosion
- 2 killed, 9 hurt in cleaver attack at Chinese Walmart store
Civilian casualties from the U.S.-led war against the so-called Islamic State are on pace to double under President Donald Trump, according to an Airwars investigation for The Daily Beast.
Airwars researchers estimate that at least 2,300 civilians likely died from Coalition strikes overseen by the Obama White House—roughly 80 each month in Iraq and Syria. As of July 13, more than 2,200 additional civilians appear to have been killed by Coalition raids since Trump was inaugurated—upwards of 360 per month, or 12 or more civilians killed for every single day of his administration.
The Coalition’s own confirmed casualty numbers—while much lower than other estimates—also show the same trend. Forty percent of the 603 civilians so far admitted killed by the alliance died in just the first four months of Trump’s presidency, the Coalition’s own data show.
The high civilian toll in part reflects the brutal final stages of the war, with the densely populated cities of Mosul and Raqqa under heavy assault by air and land. But there are also indications that under President Trump, protections for civilians on the battlefield may have been lessened—with immediate and disastrous results. Coalition officials insist they have taken great care to avoid civilian deaths, blaming the rise instead on the shifting geography of battles in both Iraq and Syria and Islamic State tactics, and not on a change in strategy.
Whatever the explanation, more civilians are dying. Airwars estimates that the minimum approximate number of civilian deaths from Coalition attacks will have doubled under Trump’s leadership within his first six months in office. Britain, France, Australia, and Belgium all remain active within the campaign, though unlike the U.S. they each deny civilian casualties.
In one well-publicized incident in Mosul, the U.S. admits it was responsible for killing more than 100 civilians in a single strike during March. But hundreds more have died from Coalition attacks in the chaos of fighting there.
“Remarkably, when I interview families at camps who have just fled the fighting, the first thing they complain about is not the three horrific years they spent under ISIS, or the last months of no food or clean water, but the American airstrikes,” said Belkis Wille, Iraq researcher for Human Rights Watch. “Many told me that they survived such hardship, and almost made it out with the families, only to lose all their loved ones in a strike before they had time to flee.”
Across the border in Raqqa, where the U.S. carries out nearly all the Coalition’s airstrikes and has deployed artillery, the civilian toll is less publicly known but even more startling. In the three months before American-backed forces breached the city’s limits in early June, Airwars tracked more than 700 likely civilian deaths in the vicinity of the self-declared ISIS capital. UN figures suggest a similar toll.
Meanwhile, the Cross River Police Command has confirmed that nine people died in a fire outbreak that occurred at Linc Oil and Gas tank farm on Sunday morning.
Hafiz Inuwa, the State Commissioner of police, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria at the scene of the event, confirmed the figure.
Mr. Inuwa added that several other persons, who sustained injuries were currently being treated in one of the hospitals in Calabar.
According to him, the manager of the depot is yet to brief the police on what led to the explosion.
“Up until now, nobody has come out to tell us that this is what caused the fire outbreak.
“We have gone round, we have done what we can do but investigation will later reveal what actually led to the explosion.
“For now, nine people are confirmed dead and many others who sustained different burns are currently receiving treatment in one of the hospitals around town,” he said.
Officials from the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, were on ground to assess the extent of damages caused by the explosion.
A NAN correspondent who went around the depot, reports that the fire outbreak also affected the high-tension cable which connected the depot’s electricity transformer, while two vehicles and other important equipment were also burnt to ashes.
The depot manager refused to speak with journalists, saying that he was not authorised to speak at the moment.
But, a staff of the depot, who spoke with NAN under the condition of anonymity, said that the fire outbreak occurred when staff of the depot where discharging the old products in the tanks to fill in the new consignment.
“As we speak right now, the vessel that brought in our new product is just by the port here. Some of our staff were discharging the old product from the tank with a view to bring in the new one when the fire outbreak occurred,” he said.
In the meantime, two people were hacked to death and another nine injured by a man wielding a meat cleaver inside a Walmart store in China’s southern manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, police in the city’s Bao’an district said Monday.
A 30-year-old unemployed man was detained as a suspect in the Sunday night attack, police said in an online statement. The motive for the attack was not immediately known.
Firearms are largely unobtainable for ordinary Chinese, and such attacks are more often carried out with knives or homemade explosives. Sales of knives have faced stricter regulations following high-profile attacks, some of which have targeted children at or just outside kindergartens and elementary schools.
Perpetrators of most past attacks have been described as being mentally ill or bearing grudges against society, with social dislocation and a lack of resources for diagnosing and treating such conditions contributing to the problem, experts say.
In one of the most horrific recent attacks, eight people were killed when a 22-year-old man detonated a homemade at the front gate of a kindergarten in eastern China. Only the suspect’s surname, Xu, was released and no motive was provided.
Walmart, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, has been operating in China for more than 20 years. It had 439 stores in 189 Chinese cities by the end of 2016.
MSN with additional report from Abc