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
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM347

Incident date

June 3, 2022

Location

Yaaq-Zaluul, Beer Xaani, Somalia

Airwars assessment

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) declared an airstrike in a remote location near Beer Xaani, in the vicinity of Yaaq-Zaluul, in Somalia on June 3rd 2022.  They declared that five Al-Shabaab militants were killed in this attack but that no civilians were injured or killed.

In local reports, this was repeated and there were no allegations of civilian harm in this strike.

AFRICOM released a statement which stated “The command’s initial assessment is that five al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in action and that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this enagement occured.”

They mentioned that this strike was in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia and it was conducted aganst Al-Shabaab militants after they attacked partner forces.  The Ministry of Information in Somalia also repeated this information in a statement released on Twitter.

Halgan Media reported that US troops and Somalia ground forces were ambushed west of the coastal city of Kismaayo in Somalia’s Lower Jubba privince. They reported that “during the midst of the ambush, US military aircraft believed to be an unmanned aerial vehicle commonly referred to as a drone carried out at an airstrike at the site of the ambush.”

This is the first known US strike since President Biden signed an order on May 16th, deploying hundreds of US troops back into Somalia.

Most of the sources were reporting information from official Somali or US sources.  This could be due to the remote location.  This assessment will be updated as we recieve more information.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • The Somalia Ministry of Information released a statement, declaring AFRICOM's strike on Al-Shabaab militants on June 3rd 2022.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Beer Xaani, Somalia 3 June 2022. U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in support of designated partner forces.

The command’s initial assessment is that five al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in action and 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 civilians.

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM346

Incident date

March 13, 2022

Location

Hareri Gubadle, Galgaduud, Somalia

Airwars assessment

At least 200 Al Shabab militants were killed by an alleged joint operation between US drone strikes and Somali forces carried out in Hareri Gubadle, near Wabho Township in Galgaduud region. The date of the operation is unknown but was reported on March 13, 2022.

The East African reported that the Somali government announced that more than 200 Al Shabab militants, including several top officials, were killed in their base in Hareri Gubadle, near Wabho Township in Galgaduud region, about 300km north of the capital Mogadishu by targeted US drone strikes. The Yemeni classified the strike as a joint collaboration between  Somali National Army and the US military and did not provide the exact date.

Shabelle Media quoted Al-Ahram who reported that the operation managed to thwart several terrorist explosions.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    200

Sources (3) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    200

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM345

Incident date

February 22, 2022

Location

Fiidow, Hiiraan, Somalia

Airwars assessment

At least 60 Al-Shabaab militants were reported killed in a declared US airstrike in support of Somali ground actions, at Fiidow village in Hiiraan on February 22, 2022.

Somali National Television reported that “over 60 Al Shabab terrorists were killed in a planned security operation conducted by #Somali National Army with support of airstrikes of Somalia’s security partners in Fiidow village of #Hiiraan region on Tuesday, SNA chief Ge. Odawa Yusuf confirmed to State Media.” The location and casualties were also confirmed by a government spokeswoman.

According to Mareeg, the Somali military stated that they had killed 60 militants, including their commander, whose name has not been released, in addition to also destroying the group’s safe houses, a so-called mobile court and explosive centers in Hiran region.”

The Somali Guardian also reported that militants claimed seven Somali government soldiers had been killed in an ambush carried out by Al-Shabaab.

The New York Times reported that the strike was carried out with an MQ-9 Reaper and followed an attack on allied Somali forces in Duduble, about 40 miles northwest of Mogadishu.

The New York Times also added details about the decision to carry out the strike, which “as in four previous attacks since President Biden took office, White House approval was not needed because the Africa Command has the authority to conduct strikes in support of allied forces under what the military calls collective self-defense.” However, “There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation, an Africa Command spokesman said. Instead, U.S. forces were advising and assisting the Somali forces’ mission from a remote location, but the official did not say where that was.”

AFRICOM released a statement a day after the incident declaring that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Duduble, Somalia, February 22.” While it stated that a battle-damage assessment was still pending, “the command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

AFRICOM cited both self defence, and the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as justification for the strike.

This incident marked the first declared US strike in Somalia by AFRICOM since August 2021. Five days before the action, AFRICOM commander General Townsend had visited US forces in Somalia – as unnamed senior US defense officials briefed Stars and Stripes that ‘U.S.-backed forces in Somalia are now outgunned by Africa’s largest terrorist group, raising concerns that a 2021 decision to pull out American troops and curtail airstrikes has helped the militants’ insurgency expand’.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    60

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (9) [ collapse]

  • US forces in partnership with Somali Military conducted airstrikes on Fiidow village on February 22, 2022. (Image posted by Somalia National Television)
  • US forces in partnership with Somali Military conducted airstrikes on Fiidow village on February 22, 2022. (Image posted by Somalia National Television)
  • US forces in partnership with Somali Military conducted airstrikes on Fiidow village on February 22, 2022. (Image posted by Somalia National Television)
  • US forces in partnership with Somali Military conducted airstrikes on Fiidow village on February 22, 2022. (Image posted by Somalia National Television)
  • US forces in partnership with Somali Military conducted airstrikes on Fiidow village on February 22, 2022. (Image posted by Nasra Bashir Ali via Twitter)
  • US forces in partnership with Somali Military conducted airstrikes on Fiidow village on February 22, 2022. (Image posted by Nasra Bashir Ali via Twitter)
  • Statement from AFRICOM on US strikes in Somalia on February 22, 2022. (Image posted by AFRICOM via Twitter)

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Duduble, Somalia, February 22.

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. 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    60

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM344

Incident date

October 7, 2021

Location

Garbahaarey, Gedo, Somalia

Airwars assessment

An unknown number of casualties among militants resulted from alleged Somalia forces with the assistance of US airstrikes/drone strikes on October 7, 2021.

Harun Maruf a journalist with Voice of America reported that the Somali military in collaboration with international security partners carried out airstrikes on four militant camps, destroying them. At the time there was no comment from @USAfricaCommand on the strikes.

Garowe Online added that there were casualties among militants without giving specific numbers. The other sources that reported on the strikes did not mention casualties.

Evelyn Tremble tweeted that “strikes most likely carried out by #USA military drones deployed in the region”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (4) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Somali Military Forces
  • Somali 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM343

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. Up to 90 militants and five government soldiers were killed in the strike, according to the Somali government and state media.

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.

Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf), a journalist for Voice of America, tweeted that “Somali army reports killing 62 Al-Shabaab fighters following Tuesday’s militant attack on Amaara, and subsequent air strike. State media reported 5 soldiers also died. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab displays battle wagons and trucks it claims seized from Govt forces in Amaara.”

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 10:52:00 local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    67–95

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (13) [ 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
  • "Al-Shabaab displays battle wagons and trucks it claims seized from Govt forces in Amaara. " (Image posted by Harun Maruf via Twitter)
  • "Al-Shabaab displays battle wagons and trucks it claims seized from Govt forces in Amaara. " (Image posted by Harun Maruf via Twitter)
  • "Al-Shabaab displays battle wagons and trucks it claims seized from Govt forces in Amaara. " (Image posted by Harun Maruf via Twitter)
  • "Al-Shabaab displays battle wagons and trucks it claims seized from Govt forces in Amaara. " (Image posted by Harun Maruf via Twitter)

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.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    67–95

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM342

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known 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.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM341

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known 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.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM340

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 10:21:00 local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known 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.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (14) [ collapse]