The Guardian

Although the U.S. government has claimed otherwise, 13-year-old Mohammed Tuaiman, who was killed in a CIA-backed drone strike Jan. 26 in Hareeb, Yemen, had no connection to al-Qaida, according to his family. The boy was incinerated inside a car, along with his brother-in-law and another man, in the attack.

In a tragic irony, just months before he was killed he had been the subject of an interview with The Guardian, during which he explained the damage that the “death machines” had caused him and his community. He elaborated that living in perpetual fear for their lives felt like a living hell and that many of the children were developing deep mental issues.

According to anonymous U.S. officials who spoke about the case to Reuters, the strike killed “three men believed to be al-Qaida militants.” One of Mohammed’s brothers and their father, Saleh Tuaiman, were also killed by a drone strike in 2011 while herding the family’s camels. Saleh was the father of 27 children.

After Mohammed’s death, The Guardian interviewed another of his brothers, Maqdad Tuaiman:

Maqdad said the family had been wrongly associated with al-Qaida, and family members strongly deny that Mohammed was involved in any al-Qaida or anti-Houthi fighting. “He wasn’t a member of al-Qaida. He was a kid.”

Speaking from al-Zur the day after his brother’s death, Meqdad said: “After our father died, al-Qaida came to us to offer support. But we are not with them. Al-Qaida may have claimed Mohammed now but we will do anything – go to court, whatever – in order to prove that he was not with al-Qaida.”

[…] For Meqdad, Mohammed’s death has reignited his determination to seek out justice for his family. “We live in injustice and we want the United States to recognise these crimes against my father and my brothers. They were innocent people, we are weak, poor people, and we don’t have anything to do with this.”

However, he added: “Don’t blame us because we sympathise with al-Qaida, because they were the only people who showed their faces to us, the government ignored us, the US ignored us and didn’t compensate us. And we will go to court to prove this is wrong.”

The Pentagon and CIA refused to comment about Mohammed Tuaiman’s alleged connection to al-Qaida.

Watch The Guardian’s video below about Mohammed, which includes interviews he conducted with members of his family.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.

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