US Forces in Somalia

Library image of an armed Reaper drone, December 2019 (US Air Force/ Senior Sergeant Haley Stevens)

Belligerent
US Forces
Country
Somalia
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM341

Incident date

August 24, 2021

Location

Cammaara, Galmudug, Somalia

Geolocation

5.264930, 47.914108 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

The brief recapture by al Shabaab of the strategic town of Amara on the morning of August 24th was reversed by Somali ground forces, assisted by a US airstrike. Several militants were killed in the strike, according to the Somali government.

Amara had been held by al Shabaab for more than a decade, until its capture by Somali government forces on August 3rd 2021 – part of a wider ground offensive in Galmudug State.

Beginning around dawn on August 24th, Shabaab had then launched a major operation to regain the town. It claimed to have killed multiple Somali government forces including elite Danab fighters. Among those reported killed was a senior commander named as Ahmed Abdi Micy. Al Shabaab also claimed to have captured more than a dozen ‘technicals.’

According to Reuters, “Residents of Amara in the Galmudug region said the morning assault started with a suicide bomb attack which targeted government special force units, known as Danab and Darawish… Asmail Nur, another resident, confirmed the attack and said al Shabaab captured 11 armoured vehicles and burned seven others.”

At 10.52am according to Sonna state media, an airstrike targeted Shabaab forces just outside Amara, as part of a successful government counter offensive. “This strike was successful and killed several al-Shabaab terrorists,” Sonna reported. As many as 90 Shabaab militants were alleged killed in the overall fighting.

AFRICOM itself finally declared the strike that evening, though made no mention of specific casualties – either civilian or militant. Its official statement asserted that the strike had been ” a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab fighters engaged in active combat with our Somali partners in the vicinity of Cammaara, Somalia, on Aug. 24. U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in support of combatant commander-designated partner forces under the 2001 Authorization of Use for Military Force.”

The incident occured at 10:52 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–4

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (9) [ collapse]

  • Amara in Galmudug, following an al Shabaab attack on the morning of August 24th 2021 (via Shabelle Media Network)
  • Ahmed Abdi Micy, a senior Somali commander reportedly killed by al Shabaab on August 24th 2021 (Via Mohammed Hussein)
  • 'AS militia forces tried to carry out attacks in the area in Amara has faced heavy loss. Zaynab has also pledged to press on the scene of a total number of 90 terrorists killed'
  • Image released by Somali National Armed Forces in association with an August 24th 2021 action at Amara
  • Image released by Somali National Armed Forces in association with an August 24th 2021 action at Amara
  • AFRTICOM statement on its August 24th 2021 airstrike at Amara, Somalia

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Cammaara, for which the generic coordinates are: 5.264930, 47.914108. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab fighters engaged in active combat with our Somali partners in the vicinity of Cammaara, Somalia, on Aug. 24.

U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in support of combatant commander-designated partner forces under the 2001 Authorization of Use for Military Force.

A battle-damage assessment is still pending due to the ongoing engagement between al-Shabaab and Somali forces. The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command forces take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.

The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to the U.S. and regional interests.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–4

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM340

Incident date

August 1, 2021

Location

Between Qaycad town and Xarardheere , Galmudug, Somalia

Geolocation

4.82888, 47.923205 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

In its latest actions in support of Somali ground forces, AFRICOM confirmed that it had conducted airstrikes on al Shabaab positions “in the vicinity of Qeycad” on August 1st.

Statements published by both the Somali Ministry of Information and Galmudug State referred to two separate strikes, which Airwars is therefore treating as separate events.

Galmudug State reported the following: “A strike targeted a military base housing al Shabaab militants between Qay’ad and Hareri-dere.”

Separately, the MOI stated that “At 1022 a.m. & 1101 a.m. air strikes occurred b/w Bacadweyne & Camara towns near Wisil town in #Galmudug State in support of a #Danab operation resulting in zero civilian casualties”. It went on to add that “The airstrikes destroyed a large al-Shabab firing position engaging Danab and SNA forces as they approached”. Airwars has treated the action between Bacadweyne and Camara as a separate event (USSOM339).

The US actions – the third and fourth in just eleven days – were once again in support of Somali ground forces fighting al Shabaab for control of towns and villages around Qeycad. According to AFRICOM, “There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation. U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise and assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces.”

AFRICOM also asserted that the command’s “initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.” There were also no known local reports of civilian harm.

Pro al Shabaab source Somali Memo tweeted on the Sunday morning that “Forces of the Islamic State of Mudug strongly defend Qeycad after air and ground attacks,” with a more detailed online report asserting that “Reports from the outskirts of Ba’adweyne area say that heavy fighting broke out in the early hours of today near Qeycad village. The fighting came after US-trained militias attacked the defenses of the Islamic State of Mudug between Ba’adweyne and Qeycad. Sources say that after an hour of fighting, the Ashamud militia were defeated and later returned to their base in Ba’adweyne. The report added that US drones had taken part in the airstrikes, but no casualties were reported.”

Somaliweyn also claimed that al Shabaab had attempted to retaliate against the US strikes: “Two rockets were reportedly fired at a fighter jet on the outskirts of Qaycad in Mudug region, where Somali government and Galmudug forces are also conducting operations.”

An image published by Radio Muqdisho on the day appeared to show an airstrike in progress.

In a followup statement, Sonna state media claimed the following day that the Somali National Army backed by Galmudug State forces had killed 200 Al-Shabaab militants in their ongoing military operations in Mudug region, destroying what were described as 16 “terrorist bases” and capturing four towns and eight villages.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

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

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Somali forces in the vicinity of Qeycud August 1st 2021 (via Radio Moqdisho)
  • An apparent US airstrike in the vicinity of Qeycud, August 1st 2021 (via Radio Moqdisho)
  • Official statement from the Somali Ministry of Information on the August 1st US strikes on al Shabaab

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the area between the town of Qeycad and the boundary of Xarardheere. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for a middle point between these two locations are: 4.82888, 47.923205.

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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Qeycad, Somalia August 1.

There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation. U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise and assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces. U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in support of combatant commander-designated partner forces under the 2001 Authorization of Use for Military Force.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.

The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.

The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent men, women and children.

Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests.

Summary

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

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM339

Incident date

August 1, 2021

Location

Between Bacaadweyn and Camara, vicinity of Wisil, Galmudug, Somalia

Geolocation

5.211400, 47.902792 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

In its latest actions in support of Somali ground forces, AFRICOM confirmed that it had conducted airstrikes on al Shabaab positions “in the vicinity of Qeycad” on August 1st.

Statements published by both the Somali Ministry of Information and Galmudug State referred to two separate strikes, which Airwars is therefore treating as separate events. According to the MOI: “At 1022 a.m. & 1101 a.m. air strikes occurred b/w Bacadweyne & Camara towns near Wisil town in #Galmudug State in support of a #Danab operation resulting in zero civilian casualties”. It went on to add that “The airstrikes destroyed a large al-Shabab firing position engaging Danab and SNA forces as they approached”.

Galmudug State also reported a strike elsewhere: “A strike targeted a military base housing al Shabaab militants between Qay’ad and Hareri-dere.” Airwars has treated this as a separate event (USSOM340).

The US actions – the third and fourth in just eleven days – were once again in support of Somali ground forces fighting al Shabaab for control of towns and villages around Qeycad. According to AFRICOM, “There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation. U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise and assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces.”

AFRICOM also asserted that the command’s “initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.” There were also no known local reports of civilian harm.

Pro al Shabaab source Somali Memo tweeted on the Sunday morning that “Forces of the Islamic State of Mudug strongly defend Qeycad after air and ground attacks,” with a more detailed online report asserting that “Reports from the outskirts of Ba’adweyne area say that heavy fighting broke out in the early hours of today near Qeycad village. The fighting came after US-trained militias attacked the defenses of the Islamic State of Mudug between Ba’adweyne and Qeycad. Sources say that after an hour of fighting, the Ashamud militia were defeated and later returned to their base in Ba’adweyne. The report added that US drones had taken part in the airstrikes, but no casualties were reported.”

Somaliweyn also claimed that al Shabaab had attempted to retaliate against the US strikes: “Two rockets were reportedly fired at a fighter jet on the outskirts of Qaycad in Mudug region, where Somali government and Galmudug forces are also conducting operations.”

An image published by Radio Muqdisho on the day appeared to show an airstrike in progress.

In a followup statement, Sonna state media claimed the following day that the Somali National Army backed by Galmudug State forces had killed 200 Al-Shabaab militants in their ongoing military operations in Mudug region, destroying what were described as 16 “terrorist bases” and capturing four towns and eight villages.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

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

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Somali forces in the vicinity of Qeycud August 1st 2021 (via Radio Moqdisho)
  • An apparent US airstrike in the vicinity of Qeycud, August 1st 2021 (via Radio Moqdisho)
  • Official statement from the Somali Ministry of Information on the August 1st US strikes on al Shabaab

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the area between the villages of Bacaadweyne and Camara, both in the vicinity of Wisil. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for a middle point between these two locations are: 5.211400, 47.902792.

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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Qeycad, Somalia August 1.

There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation. U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise and assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces. U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in support of combatant commander-designated partner forces under the 2001 Authorization of Use for Military Force.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.

The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.

The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent men, women and children.

Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests.

Summary

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

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM338

Incident date

July 25, 2021

Location

Between Qaycad town and Xarardheere district, Galmudug, Somalia

Geolocation

4.82888, 47.923205 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

The US conducted its second airstrike within four days against Al Shabab fighters in the Qay’ad area between Qaycad town and Xarardheere district on July 23, 2021 at 10:21AM.

According to Morad News, the US airstrike was in support of Somali forces involved in fighting with Al Shabab fighters as they were trying to capture Qay’ad.

The Somali Ministry of Information released a statement that “at 10:21 in Galmudug state between Qaycad town and Xarardheere district an airstrike has crippled the al-Shabaab terrorist. The precision strike only destroyed al-Shabaab fighters and weapons with zero civilian casualties.”

The US confirmed that it carried out the strike. AFRICOM released a statement saying “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Qeycad, Galmudug, Somalia today. There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation. U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise and assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces.”

@jseldin, correspondent for Voice of America, reported that “@PentagonPresSec tells @VOANews’s @CarlaBabbVOA, other reporters traveling w/@SecDef that like Tuesday’s strike, US troops executed the strike while working w/Somali forces remotely.”

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told VOA and other reporters traveling aboard a US military aircraft with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Friday’s strike was carried out in support of Somali forces near the village of Qeycad. He said the strike was permitted by the powers granted by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Kirby added that just as with the earlier airstrike that week, US troops were not on the ground with Somali forces but were conducting a remote advise-and-assist mission. Further information was not provided because of “operational security.”

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin further justified the need for the strikes in a statement that asserted: “Most recently what’s happened is our partner forces have increased their op[erational] tempo, and they have been pushing back on al-Shabab in a more significant way,” Austin told reporters traveling with him to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. “The result of that is some engagements that were fairly intense, and we conducted those strikes to support our partner forces,” he added.

The Hill pointed out that while the authority to carry out the strike on July 20th was justified by U.S. Africa Command chief Gen. Stephen Townsend’s “existing authorities to act in the defense of our Somali partners, who were under attack by al Shabaab,” the strike on July 23rd was permitted by the AUMF.

Reuters also quoted several lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who leads a key Senate foreign relations subcommittee, [who] criticized the Pentagon for carrying out the strikes even when no US forces were in danger. “It’s time to do away with questionable legal justifications claimed by one administration after the next for acts of war like this,” Murphy said in a statement.

The incident occured at 10:21 am local time.

Summary

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

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • A statement released by the Somali Ministry of Information about the US airstrike near Qaycad on July 25, 2021.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the area between the town of Qeycad and the boundary of Xarardheere district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for a middle point between these two locations are: 4.82888, 47.923205.

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

n coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Qeycad, Galmudug, Somalia today. There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation. U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise and assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces. U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in support of combatant commander-designated partner forces under the 2001 Authorization of Use for Military Force.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.

“The engagement was conducted to support our Somali partners who were taking significant fire from al-Shabaab fighters,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Greg Anderson, U.S. Africa Command, director of operations.

The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.

The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent men, women and children.

Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests.

Due to operational security U.S. Africa Command is unable to release further information at this time.

Summary

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

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM337

Incident date

July 20, 2021

Location

Vicinity of Qeycad, Mudug, Somalia

Geolocation

5.0105526, 47.991289 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Exactly six months after Joe Biden became president, the US conducted its first declared strike in Somalia of his administration, at either 10.21 or 11.05am on July 20th 2021.

According to Morad News the attack took place in the Qay’ad area of Muldug, with Sonna state media reporting that the airstrike was conducted on a fortified position in Qaycad village, between Wisil and Bacaadweyn. Sonna also said that 20 al Shabaab militants were killed in the attack, with “many more” injured.

SomaliAffairs instead said the strike “targeted Al-Shabab militants stationed between Qay’ad village and Harardhere town”.

The US military said the strike was near Galkayo – the first recorded US action since 2018 in that immediate area.

According to a Pentagon spokeswoman cited by the New York Times, the attack had struck al Shabaab fighters assaulting Somali special forces on the ground.

According to the Times, “The [drone] strike was carried out by military aircraft against Shabab fighters who were attacking members of the Danab, an elite American-trained Somali commando force, near the town of Galkayo in the country’s north, said a Pentagon spokeswoman, Cindi King.”

“Mrs. King said the Danab commandos were being advised remotely by American trainers when they came under attack. ‘There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation,’ Mrs. King said in an email. “U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise-and-assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces.’”

AFP noted that an official DoD letter stated that “A battle-damage assessment is still pending due to the ongoing engagement between Al-Shabab and Somali forces, however the command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this strike”.

Voice of America reported that Somali commanders had been hoping for a resumption of US strikes: “Somali Army spokesman Colonel Ali Hashi Abdinur told VOA earlier this week he hoped the U.S. would resume the strikes, especially to target the al-Qaida-linked fighters in areas where the Somali infantry can’t reach.  ‘We have good cooperation and collaboration with the U.S.,’ he said. ‘There are hard-to-reach areas in the forests where the airstrikes used to target their leaders.’”

The President of Galmudug State later tweeted that “The aim of the strike was to protect the brave armed forces those who are facing the enemy and it was successfully conducted as there were zero civilian casualties involved.”

An initial statement from the Somali government on the attack made no mention of US forces participation, placing the event at 11.05am local time. Breaking with recent convention, the strike was then declared directly by the Pentagon rather than by US Africa Command. However, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman confirmed to media that the strike had in fact been authorised by General Townsend of AFRICOM.

Biden’s first action in Somalia caused some discomfort in Congress. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia told Politco’s NatSec Daily that ““I remain concerned with the justification of ‘collective self-defense’ to respond with U.S. military force to protect foreign groups when there is no direct threat to the U.S., its armed forces, or citizens… I look forward to getting more information from the administration about this specific drone strike, especially as we continue to work together to rebalance the Article I and Article II powers on use of force issues and update the 2001 AUMF to reflect current threats against the United States.”

A trio of senators – Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Mike Lee of Utah – issued a statement condemning the attack: “We’re troubled that no one in the administration sought the required legal authorization from Congress for Tuesday’s drone strike in Somalia especially with no American forces at risk—and apparently, did not even check with our commander-in-chief.”

And Congresswoman Ilhan Omar wrote expressing her concerns about the strike to President Biden, requesting answers to eight specific questions about the action.

 

The incident occured between 10:21 am and 11:05 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    20
  • Belligerents reported injured
    6–12

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Qeycad, for which the generic coordinates are: 5.0105526, 47.991289. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted one airstrike in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia, July 20, 2021.

A battle-damage assessment is still pending due to the ongoing engagement between al-Shabaab and Somali forces, however the command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this strike as the strike targeted known al-Shabaab fighters and took place in a remote area.

“This strike was conducted under collective self-defense authority and targeted al-Shabaab fighters engaged in active combat with our Somali partners,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Thomas Savage, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of operations. “We are committed to supporting our Somali partners as they fight against these terrorists.”

The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command forces take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.

The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent men, women and children.

Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    20
  • Belligerents reported injured
    6–12

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM336

Incident date

February 17, 2021

Location

Hantiwadaag, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.88721, 44.7789 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A single source alleged a US drone strike on Hantidawaag which AFRICOM later denied.

Halgan Media wrote: “US drones just bombed the village of Hantiwadaag in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle province and struck a vehicle carrying a group of Al Shabaab fighters – Sources.”

AFRICOM responded to a request from Airwars: “U.S. Africa Command’s last strikes were conducted on Jan. 19 2021.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Hantiwadaag, for which the generic coordinates are: 1.88721, 44.7789. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. Africa Command's last strikes were conducted on Jan. 19 2021.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM335

Incident date

February 11, 2021

Location

Salagle, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.81004, 42.28991 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

Several Al Shabaab militants were reported killed at Salagle in a military strike which two local sources claimed was a US drone action. However AFRICOM explicitly denied this in an email to Airwars, insisting that “U.S. Africa Command’s last airstrike in Somalia was conducted Jan. 19, 2021.”

Intelligence Briefs said: “A number of Al-Shabaab operatives including some mid-level commander are believed to have been killed and compounds destroyed after four drone missiles hit targets in Sakow and Salagle localities of Middle Jubba region of Somalia.

Open sources and local media reported that suspected US drone conducted the air raid on the two Al-Shabaab stronghold towns in Middle Jubba region.”

Somaliland wrote: “Dozens of al-Shabaab members including their commanders are feared dead after four missiles hit their stronghold towns in Sakow and Salagle localities.

local media reported that suspected US drones bombed the two al-Shabaab controled towns in Middle Jubba region. It is not clear the exact casualties of the attacks but officials who are privy to the missions, claimed one of the targets was a meeting point attended by a number of al-Shabaab commanders.”

 

The incident occured around midnight.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6–12

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the district of Salagle, for which the generic coordinates are: 1.81004, 42.28991. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the district of Salagle.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. Africa Command's last airstrike in Somalia was conducted Jan. 19, 2021.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6–12

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM334

Incident date

February 11, 2021

Location

سااكوو, Sakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.640397, 42.452334 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Several Al Shabaab militants were reported killed at Sakow in a military strike which several local sources claimed was a US drone action. However AFRICOM explicitly denied this in an email to Airwars, insisting that “U.S. Africa Command’s last airstrike in Somalia was conducted Jan. 19, 2021.”

Geesguud initially reported: “Residents in Middle Jubba reported a suspected US airstrike in their vicinity on Wednesday. Locals from the Sakow district reported hearing the rumblings of fighter jets late in the evening, followed by artillery shelling and bombs. The residents believe US forces were targeting Al-Shabaab bases in their surrounding area.”

Warsan Radio also claimed that most strikes had been carried out by US drones and others by fighter jets.

Somaliland wrote that “dozens of al-Shabaab members including their commanders are feared dead after four missiles hit their stronghold towns in Sakow and Salagle localities.”

Badweyn Times was alone in alleging civilian harm, though blamed local Somali forces: “Reports from Sakow district in middle Jubba, Somalia indicate that there are significant reports of heavy shelling on children and other civilians. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a children’s home in Sakow district.  Out of the above 80 children were killed, while declare that there was still a number of serious offenses. Many children spoke out when the announcement was made after it was important as an emergency, according to one resident.

Security sources say Colonel Abdullah Dahir Abdullah (Ugas Abdalla) is responsible for the planned insult and the whole air strike. The site of the bombing was said to be caring for orphans between the ages of 5 and 12 and also part of a food service for the elderly people in the town.”

Highly unusually, no other media or local sources reported civilian harm in this event from any party despite Badweyn’s claim of high civilian deaths. While Airwars includes this claim here for completion, we do not presently consider this to be a valid civilian harm allegation.

The incident occured around midnight.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6–12

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Sakow (سااكوو) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Sakow are: 1.640397, 42.452334.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. Africa Command's last airstrike in Somalia was conducted Jan. 19, 2021.

Somalia Military Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Somalia Military Forces
  • Somalia Military Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6–12

Sources (7) [ collapse]