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
Infrastructure

Incident Code

USSOM361

Incident date

November 30, 2022

Location

village of Ali Foldhere, Middle Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Up to 40 members of al-Shabaab were killed and others were wounded by Somali forces and “international partner” airstrikes or ground operations near the village of Ali Foldhere on November 30, 2022.

Shabelle Media Network quoted the Somali government who announced that an operation carried out by the National Army, National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), and international partners in Ali Foldhere resulted in the death of up to 40 members of al-Shabaab and the wounding of others.

Garowe Online reported that the al-Shabaab militants were targeted while they were plotting their own attack in the town.

Reuters described the location of the operation as being in a forest near the village of Ali Foldhere under Mahaday town of Middle Shabelle region.

@BCFinucane pointed out that this was another operation with support from Somalia’s “international security partners” who were not specified. Garowe Online pointed out that similar military operations in the past involved US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS].

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • 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
    40
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ 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
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • 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
    40
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM360

Incident date

November 26, 2022

Location

Bulo Madina, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

More than 60 al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed by Somali forces and “international partner” airstrikes or ground operations on the outskirts of the village of El-Dhere on November 26, 2022.

Horn Diplomat Media quoted Somalia’s deputy information minister, Abdirahman Yusuf Omar Adala, who said that in addition to a similar operation carried out in El-Dhere, a military operation in the village of Bulo Madina resulted in the death of 60 al-Shabaab terrorists. Both operations were carried out by the Somali army with support by “local militias and international security partners”.

No other details on this operation were available at the time.

While no sources directly implicated the US in the operation, the Somali government’s reference to “international partners” has in the past indicated US involvement.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    Somali Military Forces, US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    60

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    Somali Military Forces, US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    60

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM359

Incident date

November 26, 2022

Location

El-Dhere, Middle Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Over 100 al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed by Somali forces and “international partner” airstrikes or ground operations on the outskirts of the village of El-Dhere on November 26, 2022.

Voice of America quoted Somalia’s deputy information minister, Abdirahman Yusuf Omar Adala, who said that an operation conducted by the Somali army, backed by locals and international partners assisting from the air, resulted in the death of more than 100 al-Shabaab militants, including 10 “ringleaders”, on the outskirts of the village of El-Dhere. The operation reportedly resulted in the liberation of El-Dhere from al-Shabaab control and the seizure of their weaponry.

Local sources provided similar casualty figures and details they also obtained from the Somali government.

While no sources directly implicated the US in the operation, the Somali government’s reference to “international partners” has in the past indicated US involvement.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    Somali Military Forces, US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    100

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Destruction caused by operation carried out by Somali army and International partners in El-Dhere village on November 26, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)
  • Destruction caused by operation carried out by Somali army and International partners in El-Dhere village on November 26, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)
  • Weapons seized during operation carried out by Somali army and International partners in El-Dhere village on November 26, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)
  • Destruction caused by operation carried out by Somali army and International partners in El-Dhere village on November 26, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    Somali Military Forces, US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    100

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM358

Incident date

November 24, 2022

Location

Bulo Madina, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

15 al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed by Somali forces and “international partner” airstrikes or ground operations near Bulo Madina on November 24, 2022.

Somali National Television posted on Twitter that 15 al-Shabaab militants were killed by an operation carried out by Somali security forces with the support of airstrikes from “international security partners” near Bulo Madina. @HarunMaruf added that the 15 militants killed had survived the operation the day before and were tracked down.

@GaroweOnline pointed out that no independent sources have been able to verify the government’s casualty claims.

While no sources directly implicated the US in the operation, the Somali government’s reference to “international partners” has in the past indicated US involvement.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    Somali Military Forces, US Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    15

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    Somali Military Forces, US Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    15

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM357

Incident date

November 23, 2022

Location

Bulo Madina, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Over 49 al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed and others were wounded by Somali forces and “international partner” airstrikes/ground operations in the Bulo Madina area of Lower Shabelle on November 22, 2022.

Garrote Online reported that according to the Ministry of Information, over 49 militants were killed by an airstrike following an operation by the Somali National Army aided by “local militias and international partners”. The statement from the Ministry of Information said that “the militants were killed in the Bulo Madina area, where they had converged to plan terrorist activities against the Somali people” and Garowe Online attributed the airstrike to AFRICOM, backing the Danab Special Forces.

Four residents of Afgoye district, around 25 km north-west of the capital Mogadishu, told Reuters that they heard large explosions on the evening of November 22nd, but were not aware of the village’s location or of the number of casualties. “Last night, the whole earth shook. We heard two huge air strikes,” said Ali Farah, a local bus driver. Voice of America also mentioned that residents in the region reported that they heard explosions.

Reuters also quoted the Ministry of Information, who they said announced that they had destroyed a number of military vehicles and weapons during the operation. A tweet from @BoodhariFarah also identified “a number” of militants as being injured without specifying how many.

AFRICOM has not released a statement related to this incident and according to Reuters, stated that they were not involved in airstrikes on November 22nd. However, multiple local sources, including @DrumChronicles, attributed the airstrikes to the US.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • 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, Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    49
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (11) [ 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

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • 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, Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    49
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM356

Incident date

November 9, 2022

Location

285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu, Galgaduud, Somalia

Geolocation

4.483513, 46.227249 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Additional Geolocations

4.512549, 46.283599 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least 17 militants were killed by US AFRICOM declared airstrikes approximately 285 kilometers northeast, possibly in Basra, Balad district and/or in Ceel Gorof (Galmudug) on November 9, 2022.

AFRICOM released a statement two days after the incident, November 11th, that “Somali National Army forces were engaged with al Shabaab fighters in a remote area approximately 285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu on Nov. 9. At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against the al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking the Somali forces. Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed 17 attacking al Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

Unlike recent statements, AFRICOM does not provide a specific location name for the incident. @Vatescorp tweeted that although AFRICOM did not confirm the location, there were reports that airstrikes were conducted on November 9th and 10th IVO Wabxo, Galgaduud. Geolocation narrowed the referenced location from AFRICOM to the vicinity of Ceel Gorof (the Gorof well) and Wabxo village, which are very close to each other and approx 285 km northeast of Mogadishu.

A tweet from @BCFinucane pointed out that in a later part of the statement, AFRICOM refers to al-Shabaab as being capable of attacking “Somali, East African, and American civilians”, yet “if the reference to the threat from Al Shabaab to US civilians is an allusion to the 2020 attack on Manda Bay, that seems like a stretch”.

The National News Media added that the strike came a few days after al-Shabaab killed five soldiers in Mogadishu and a little over a week after al-Shabaab was responsible for a mass casualty car bombing.

On the same day as the strike, National News Media reported that the Somali army released a statement that they had killed at least 20 militants and took back al-Shabaab controlled towns in central Somalia. A tweet from @ArlaadiMnetwork Abdikamil Moalim Shukri, spokesman for the ministry of internal security, who they said announced that at least 47 al-Shabaab militants were killed by an operation carried out by NISA (the National Intelligence and Security Agency) and international friends in Basra, Balad district. @HarunMaruf added that the government also announced that in addition to the 47 militants killed in Basra, 50 militants were killed in Ceel Gorof (Galmudug).

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    17–97

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Ceel Gorof (Gorof well) and the village of Wabxo, located close together, in the Galguduud region, approximately 285 kilometres northeast of Mogadishu. The generic coordinates for the Gorof well are: 4.483513, 46.227249. The generic coordinates for Wabxo are: 4.512549, 46.283599. 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

Somali National Army forces were engaged with al Shabaab fighters in a remote area approximately 285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu on Nov. 9. At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against the al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking the Somali forces.


Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed 17 attacking al Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.

U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote greater security for all Africans.

Al-Shabaab is the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world and has proven both its will and capability to attack Somali, East African, and American civilians.

Somalia remains key to the stability and security in all of East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to defeat al-Shabaab.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of this operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.

U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • 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
    17–97

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM355

Incident date

November 3, 2022

Location

near the villages of Cadale, Mora-Erri, Garas Magan, and El Hareeri, Hiiraan, Somalia

Geolocation

2.760694, 46.322374 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between eight and 200 al-Shabaab militants were killed by declared US airstrikes in support of Somali forces near the villages of Cadale, Mora-Erri, Garas Magan, and El Hareeri on November 3, 2022.

AFRICOM released a statement two days later, on November 5th, that “In support of the Federal Government of Somalia’s ongoing operations against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Cadale, Somalia, on Nov. 3, 2022. The command’s initial assessment is that the Somalia National Army-requested strike killed 15 attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

Hiiraan Online News reported that “Abdullahi Ali Anod, a spokesman for the defence ministry told reporters in Mogadishu that 100 al-Shabab fighters were killed during the “intense operation” in the Garas Magan and El Hareeri villages of the Hiran region and that drones were striking the militants during the fight. Another member of the Somali military, Major Ahmed Abdullahi Beeryare, commander of the 16th battalion of the US-trained Danab commandos, told local media in Hiiiraan that “the number of al-Shabab fatalities could be as high as 200.” Hiiraan added that new organizations had not yet verified the government casualty claims.

Reuters reported that al-Shabaab stated that they killed dozens of Somali army soldiers and macawisley fighters during clashes with the army and that eight of their own fighters were killed by US airstrikes. Reuters also mentioned that the Somali national army posted photographs of the bodies of alleged al-Shabaab fighters on their Telegram channel.

The US airstrike came as Somali Armed Forces were advancing to Adanyabal, an al-Shabaab stronghold, after Somali troops took over Qura’dhere and Habal-Hussein villages that same day, according to @dhoorebbc.

The incident occured in the evening.

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
    8–200

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Cadale, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.760694, 46.322374. 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 support of the Federal Government of Somalia’s ongoing operations against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Cadale, Somalia, on Nov. 3, 2022.
The command’s initial assessment is that the Somalia National Army-requested strike killed 15 attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.
U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote a more secure and stable Africa.
Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack partner and U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests.
Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.
U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

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
    8–200

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM354

Incident date

October 23, 2022

Location

near Buulobarde, Hiiran, Somalia

Geolocation

3.855029, 45.568398 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least two al-Shabaab militants were killed by a declared US airstrike near Buulobarde, Somalia on October 23, 2022.

AFRICOM released a statement that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde, Somalia, about 218 km north-northwest of Mogadishu, on Oct. 23. The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed two attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.” AFRICOM also added that “U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.”

Voice of America reported that leading up to the strike, al-Shabaab launched two major attacks in Somalia, including the siege at the Tawakal Hotel on Sunday in the southern coastal city of Kismayo and a triple bombing in the town of Beledweyne. In response, the Somali National Army and its allied militia have launched an offensive against the group, and the Military Times quoted the Somali Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism who released a statement that government forces had reclaimed territories in the Hiiraan (where the strike occurred) and Middle Shabelle regions in the Hirshabelle State.

Horumar added that just a day after the strike occurred, the Somali government announced that they had killed over 100 al-Shabaab militants in 48 hours in Hirshabelle State, in conjunction with “international friends”.

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–100

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of the town of Bulobarde, for which the generic coordinates are: 3.855029, 45.568398. 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 an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde, Somalia, about 218 km north-northwest of Mogadishu, on Oct. 23.
The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed two attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.
U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote a more secure and stable Africa.
Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests. U.S. Africa Command, alongside its partners, continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians.
Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.
U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • 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
    2–100

Sources (9) [ collapse]