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

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]

Incident Code

USSOM333

Incident date

January 29, 2021

Location

Ma'moodow, Bakool, South West State, Somalia

Geolocation

4.12303, 43.890121 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

According to Somali official and media sources, an airstrike targeted a group of al Shabaab fighters in the vicinity of Ma’moodow town in Bakool province on January 29th.

According to an official statement from the Security Ministry of South West State, the attack was conducted by “friends of Somalia.”

Following requests for clarification, AFRICOM publicly denied responsibility for the event, insisting that the last US military action had been on January 19th – the last full day of the Trump presidency. .

Reports of a strike first emerged late on the night of January 29th, with Halgan Media asserting that “Sources reveal suspected US drones carried out a drone strike Tonight and bombed the Al Shabaab controlled town of Ma’moodow in the Bakool province of Somalia. Per Sources, the drone strike occurred at around 10PM local time.”

Halgan later added that “Sources confirm the (drone) strike targeted a group of Al Shabaab fighters that where conjured together in Ma’moodow and waiting for vehicles coming from the direction of Ceelbarde, when they came under attack from an American drone….Per sources the drone strike in Bakool came after Al Shabaab fighters ambushed a contingent of Ethiopian troops escorting supplies by road upon departing Ceelbarde. After the ambush, the insurgents gathered in Ma’moodow, which was followed by a strike”.

Anadolu Agency was among media citing a statement later published by the Security Ministry of Southwest State, which reportedly “said that US airstrikes killed several senior al-Shabaab commanders in the southwestern Bakool region. According to a statement issued by the ministry, the airstrikes took place in the vicinity of Ma’moodow, 410 km (254 mi) from Mogadishu.”

That statement in fact referred only to a strike by “friends of Somalia” – though officials appear to have briefed local reporters in more detail.

On February 1st 2021, responding to an email query from Airwars, AFRICOM’s public affairs team noted: “We are aware of the reporting. U.S. Africa Command was not involved in the Jan. 29 action referenced below. U.S. Africa Command last strike was conducted on Jan. 19. Our policy of acknowledging all airstrikes by either press release
or response to query has not changed.”

In light of that denial – and given a possible link between the strike and an earlier reported nearby attack on Ethiopian troops – Airwars presently determines that this was likely an AMISOM or Ethiopian action. Radio Dalsan and Badweyn Times reported the strike was conducted with fighter jets.

The incident occured at approximately 10:00 pm local time.

Summary

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

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the town of Ma’Moodow, allegedly located 40km away from the city of Hudur, with sources suggesting it being situated in the direction of Ceel Barde. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Hudur are: 4.12303, 43.890121.

  • Reports of the incident mention the town of Ma’Moodow, allegedly located 40km away from the city of Hudur, with sources suggesting it being situated in the direction of Ceel Barde.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Amisom Military Forces Assessment:

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

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

"We are aware of the reporting. U.S. Africa Command was not involved in the
Jan. 29 action referenced below. U.S. Africa Command last strike was conducted
on Jan. 19. Our policy of acknowledging all airstrikes by either press release
or response to query has not changed."

Summary

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

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM331-C

Incident date

January 19, 2021

Location

Jamaame, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.06978, 42.748066 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

One civilian was allegedly killed in a US airstrike on Jamaame.

Halgan Media said: “US drones just bombed the town of Jamaame in the Lower Jubba province of Somalia and killed a prominent Clan elder named Mohamed Abbas, who died instantly when a missile from a US drone hit his home – Sources.”

Somali Memo, linked to Al Shabaab, wrote: “Reports from the Lower Jubba region say that an airstrike on the outskirts of Jamame killed one of the traditional elders of the Somali clans.

A drone strike near the town of Jamaame has killed Sultan Mohamed Abbas, the sultan of the Habar Gidir clan in Jubba regions.”

The AFRICOM press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted two airstrikes in the vicinities of Jamaame and Deb Scinnele, Somalia, Jan. 19.

Initial assessments indicate the strikes killed three al-Shabaab operatives.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.”

AFRICOM’s first civilian casualty assessment in 2021 said the incident is under investigation.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)
  • Remnants of US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jamaame, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.06978, 42.748066. 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
    Open incident
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Jan. 19, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on Jan. 19, 2021. U.S. Africa Command’s assessment of this report is ongoing.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted two airstrikes in the vicinities of Jamaame and Deb Scinnele, Somalia, Jan. 19.
Initial assessments indicate the strikes killed three al-Shabaab operatives.
The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.
“These strikes targeted known al-Shabaab leaders involved in IED facilitation, fighter training, and attack planning,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Striking these leaders disrupts al-Shabaab’s ability to attack our partners and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians with improvised explosive devices. We are working closely with our Somali partners to support their operations against al-Shabaab, protect their people, and provide governance.”
Joint Task Force - Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. 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
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM332

Incident date

January 19, 2021

Location

Deb Scinnele, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

3.0278, 44.917099 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike alelgedly killed Al Shabaab fighter near Deb Scinnele, according to AFRICOM.

The press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted two airstrikes in the vicinities of Jamaame and Deb Scinnele, Somalia, Jan. 19.

Initial assessments indicate the strikes killed three al-Shabaab operatives.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Deb Scinnele, for which the generic coordinates are: 3.0278, 44.917099. 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 two airstrikes in the vicinities of Jamaame and Deb Scinnele, Somalia, Jan. 19.
Initial assessments indicate the strikes killed three al-Shabaab operatives.
The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.
“These strikes targeted known al-Shabaab leaders involved in IED facilitation, fighter training, and attack planning,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Striking these leaders disrupts al-Shabaab’s ability to attack our partners and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians with improvised explosive devices. We are working closely with our Somali partners to support their operations against al-Shabaab, protect their people, and provide governance.”
Joint Task Force - Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM330

Incident date

January 18, 2021

Location

Tiyeeglow, Bakool, Somalia

Geolocation

4.0182, 44.512749 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike targeted an Al Shabaab compound in Tiyeeglow, according to AFRICOM.

The press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted one airstrike in the vicinity of Tiyeeglow, Somalia, Jan. 18, 2021.

Initial assessments indicate the strike destroyed one al-Shabaab compound.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.”

Halgan Media added: “Sources confirm the latest #US drone strike in #Somalia targeting the town of #Tiyeeglow hit a Tax revenue center run by #AlShabaab. Aircraft was spotted hovering over the sky’s in the run up to the strike, which gave those inside time to flee, per sources.”

Morad News and Radio Dalsan said, however, that in fact Al Shabaab’s media outlet Radio Andalus was hit in the attack.

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
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Building allegedly destroyed by US airstrike on Tiyeeglow on January 18th, 2021 (via Radio Dalsan)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Tiyeeglow, for which the generic coordinates are: 4.0182, 44.512749. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared 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 (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM329

Incident date

January 13, 2021

Location

Buulo Fulaay, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

2.11064, 43.52329 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike allegedly killed one Al Shabaab fighter near Buulo Fulaay.

The AFRICOM press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted one airstrike in the vicinity of Buulo Fulaay, Somalia Jan. 13, 2021.

Initial assessments indicate the strike killed one al-Shabaab personnel and destroyed one compound.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.”

Halgan Media provided additional detail on the victim after reporting aircraft activity before the strike was officially declared: “Sources confirm the Al Shabaab fighter that was killed in the US air strike in Somalia yesterday is named Dinle Ali Hassan, who often goes by the alias of Samir Ali Hussein.

He died instantly during the air raid targeting the town of Buulo Fulaay.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Buulo Fuulay, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.11064, 43.52329. 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 Buulo Fulaay, Somalia Jan. 13, 2021.
Initial assessments indicate the strike killed one al-Shabaab personnel and destroyed one compound.
The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.
“This strike in Buulo Fulaay combined with recent strikes, shows our resolve and degrades al-Shabaab’s ability to threaten Somalia and its neighbors,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force - Quartz commander. “Side by side with our partners, we plan to leave no safe place for al-Shabaab to hide.”
Joint Task Force - Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (7) [ collapse]