Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM181

Incident date

January 19, 2019

Location

Between Araare crossing and Muse Haji, near Baar Sanguni, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.494527, 42.777868 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Up to 73 al Shabaab fighters were killed in a confirmed retaliatory strike conducted by US Africa Command.

On the same day as the attack, AFRICOM reported that it had “conducted an airstrike targeting militants near Jilib, Middle Juba Region, Somalia, on January 19, 2019.”

The airstrike was apparently conducted after a large contingent of al-Shabaab forces attacked Somali National Army Forces. According to AP, Al-Shabaab claims “its attack on two Somali army bases killed at least 41 soldiers”. The Somali National Army instead said that at least eight of its soldiers had died.

AFP gave the location of those attacks as the Bar Sanjuni area near the port city of Kismayo. It suggested that the strikes took place there, conducted by helicopters: “Sources at nearby villages said the militants looted the camp and took a military vehicle. ‘Al-Shabaab fighters secured control of the base and looted everything. They have set fire to the arms depots and took a military vehicle, but there were two choppers which carried out air strikes during the attack,’ traditional elder Hassan Rashid told AFP.”

According to Voice of America, the strike instead occurred on a convoy of al Shabaab vehicles between Araare Bridge and Muse Haji after they had left the Bar Sanjuni base: “About an hour after the militants left the base, an airstrike carried out by unidentified foreign forces supporting the Somali military killed more than 60 militants. At least two missiles hit the militants driving away in a military truck and two Toyota pickup truck they seized from the base, officials said. ‘On their way back, after the defeat in the battle for the military base, an airstrike hit the militants, killing all those in three vehicles, estimated to have been more than 60,’ a Somali military official familiar with the airstrike told VOA on the condition of anonymity.”

“We managed to kill at least 75 Shebab militants after they attacked us and many others were wounded, and we want to talk about this victory to our people. We, the Somali army with our international partners will pursue the Shebab militants until victory”, Somali army officer Hassan Aden Mohamed told AFP.

The US military command also asserted that “at this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.” So far there are no known reports of civilian harm relating to this event.

According to AFRICOM “this airstrike killed 52 militants.” However, the Associated Press reported that Ethiopian media gave different numbers: “state television cited the defense ministry as saying more than 60 Shabab fighters had been killed in the airstrike and that four vehicles loaded with explosives had been ‘destroyed.'”

AP also reported that AFRICOM did not clarify whether any Somali or American forces were killed or injured. The news agency described the strike as the “deadliest” in recent months.

Separately,  the New York Times noted: “A Somali intelligence officer told the New York Times (…) the group had been amassing fighters for more than a week in attempts to launch a major attack against Somali and Kenyan forces and disrupt their planned offensive. The officer said some 400 militants, including foreign ones and suicide car bombers, had been prepared.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck on this date what it says were al Shabaab fighters, in the vicinity of Jilib.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    52–73

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • Image released by al Shabaab showing its occupation of a Somali military base, prior to a US airstrike on January 19th which killed at least 52 militants (via Long War Journal)
  • Image released by al Shabaab showing its occupation of a Somali military base, prior to a US airstrike on January 19th which killed at least 52 militants (via Long War Journal)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Note: Images originally released by Jubbaland regional administration.
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Note: Images originally released by Jubbaland regional administration.

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a convoy that just departed from a base near Baar Sanguni and was travelling between Araare crossing and the village of Muse Haji. The coordinates for the road between Araare crossing and Muse Haji are: 0.015882, 42.665664.

  • Road leading passed Baar Sanguni, Araare crossing and Muse Haji

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

To support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike targeting militants near Jilib, Middle Juba Region, Somalia, on January 19, 2019.

U.S. Africa Command conducted the airstrike in response to an attack by a large group of al-Shabaab militants against Somali National Army Forces.

We currently assess this airstrike killed fifty-two (52) militants.

At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.

Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    52–73

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM180

Incident date

January 8, 2019

Location

Yaaq Braawe, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

1.95085, 43.19458 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

US Africa Command reported that the previous day, it had conducted “one (1) airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab encampment in the vicinity of Yaaq Braawe, Bay Region, Somalia, on January 8, 2019.”

It added: “At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.”

AFRICOM also stated that the airstrike “killed six militants and destroyed one vehicle” – and that “The al-Shabaab encampment served as a staging area for terrorists in the region.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck on this date what it says was an al Shabaab encampment, in the vicinity of Yaaq Brawe.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted an Al Shabaab encampment in the vicinity of the village Yaaq Braawe. The coordinates for this village are: 1.95085, 43.19458. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

To support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. forces conducted one (1) airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab encampment in the vicinity of Yaaq Braawe, Bay Region, Somalia, on January 8, 2019.

The al-Shabaab encampment served as a staging area for terrorists in the region.

We currently assess this airstrike killed six (6) militants and destroyed one vehicle.

At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.

Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM178

Incident date

January 7, 2019

Location

Baqdaad, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.04184, 42.654469 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

US Africa Command reported that the day previously, it had “conducted two airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Baqdaad, Somalia, on January 7, 2019.”

AFRICOM stated that “At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes.” According to AFRICOM “four militants” were killed in the strikes.

AFRICOM added that “The airstrikes were conducted in collective self-defense of our Somali partners after they were engaged by al-Shabaab militants.”

Separately, Somalia’s national intelligence and security agency NISA tweeted that “In a planned operation to hunt down a commander of the militant group al-Shabaab, in the village of Baghdad in the Afgoye district, security forces killed four (4) members of Alshabab after their commander fled.” [translation]

Airwars has listed these as two separate confirmed strikes for this date, with four deaths assigned as a tally to this event and zero to the other. It is not however clear how many died in each event.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Baqdaad in the Lower Juba region, for which the coordinates are: -0.04184, 42.654469. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

To support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. forces conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Baqdaad, Somalia, on January 7, 2019.
The airstrikes were conducted in collective self-defense of our Somali partners after they were engaged by al-Shabaab militants.
We currently assess the airstrikes killed four (4) militants.
At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes.
Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM177

Incident date

January 6, 2019

Location

Vicinity of Deerow Sanle, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

1.4603, 43.16366 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

AFRICOM reported on the same day that it had carried out an airstrike targeting al Shabaab in the vicinity of Dheerow Sanle in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.

According to AFRICOM “no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.” The strike “killed six (6) militants and destroyed one vehicle.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck on this date what it says were al Shabaab fighters, in the vicinity of Dheerow Sanle.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Deerow Sanle, for which the coordinates are: 1.4603, 43.16366. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

To support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. forces conducted one (1) airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Dheerow Sanle, Lower Shabelle Region, Somalia, on January 6, 2019.

This airstrike was conducted to diminish al-Shabaab’s freedom of movement and to increase pressure on the terrorist network in the area.

We currently assess this airstrike killed six (6) militants and destroyed one vehicle.

At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.

“We remain fully committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia, its forces, and its partners in the fight against al-Shabaab,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg P. Olson, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conduct precision airstrikes such as this to foil terrorist plans, eliminate al-Shabaab terrorists and reduce the enemy’s freedom of maneuver.”

Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS3399

Incident date

April 9, 2018

Location

وادي النسيم, Wadi Al Nasim, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.916719, 36.641455 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

An unidentified explosion rocked the neighbourhood of Wadi Al Nasim in the city of Idlib, killing at least 10 civilians and injuring up to 150, local sources said.

Zeiton News said 12 women and seven children were among 29 killed by a long-range ballistic missile launched from Russian battleships. Additional sources, including a military observatory in the region, also reported the use of ballistic missiles by Russian forces.

However, alternative sources said the cause of the explosion could not be identified. Both airstrikes and ballistic missiles from warships in the Mediterranean Sea were reported, while Syria HR raised the possibility of a “booby trapped vehicle explosion.”

The Syrian Civil Defense said the explosion collapsed four residential buildings, including a seven storey building. The headquarters of the Caucasus Army, formerly the Nasra Front, was also damaged. The group belongs to al-Qaeda, according to the Associated Press.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 29
  • (1–7 children12–13 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    50–154
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (31) [ collapse]

  • Explosion shakes Idlib, leaving 13 dead and 120 injured, Orient TV (April 2018)
  • Dozens dead and wounded in an unknown explosion in the city of Idlib, Smart News (April 2018)
  • The first moments following the explosion in Wadi Naseem, Ebba News (April 2018)
  • The first moments following the explosion in Wadi Naseem, Ebba News (April 2018)
  • The first moments following the explosion in Wadi Naseem, Ebba News (April 2018)
  • The explosion destroyed four residential buildings, Syrian Noor (April 2018)
  • Wounded children in Wadi Al Nasim after an explosion, Idlib Plus (April 2018)
  • Wounded children in Wadi Al Nasim after an explosion, Idlib Plus (April 2018)
  • Wounded children in Wadi Al Nasim after an explosion, Idlib Plus (April 2018)
  • Wounded children in Wadi Al Nasim after an explosion, Idlib Plus (April 2018)
  • Civil defense teams pulled casualties from the rubble, Syrian Civil Defense (April 2018)
  • Civil defense teams pulled casualties from the rubble, Syrian Civil Defense (April 2018)
  • Civil defense teams pulled casualties from the rubble, Syrian Civil Defense (April 2018)
  • Civilians were among the dead, Maamoun al-Khatib (April 2018)
  • Civilians were among the dead, Maamoun al-Khatib (April 2018)
  • There were more than 150 injuries in initial toll, Euphrates Post (April 2018)
  • There were more than 150 injuries in initial toll, Euphrates Post (April 2018)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The first causalities following the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The first causalities following the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The first causalities following the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The first causalities following the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The first causalities following the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The destruction of civilian homes caused by the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The destruction of civilian homes caused by the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The destruction of civilian homes caused by the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The destruction of civilian homes caused by the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The destruction of civilian homes caused by the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The destruction of civilian homes caused by the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The destruction of civilian homes caused by the explosion, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • The Syrian Civil Defense ends the search for civilians under the rubble, Idlib Media Center (April 2018)
  • Sources said they could not identify the type of the explosion or the perpetrator, SN4HR (April 2018)

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 29
  • (1–7 children12–13 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    50–154
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (28) [ collapse]