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

USSOM321

Incident date

October 18, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.7928186, 43.3841839 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 member in Jilib, AFRICOM confirmed via email to Airwars.

The respone read: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jilib, Somalia on Oct. 18 targeting one al-Shabaab terrorist. The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike yielded no death or injuries of AS terrorist(s). U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

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

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jilib, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jilib, Somalia on Oct. 18 targeting one al-Shabaab terrorist. The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike yielded no death or injuries of AS terrorist(s). U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

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

Incident Code

USSOM320

Incident date

October 6, 2020

Location

Weelshit, Gedo, Somalia

Geolocation

3.11895, 46.39165 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

An unidentified airstrike allegedly killed ten or eleven Al Shabaab members in Weelshit.

Strategic Intelligence wrote: “Unidentified aerial strike at 1145pm on 06.10.2020 killed 10 Terrorist who are members of the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab al Mujahideen alongside their operations commander.”

It added: “The blitz in Weelshit, Gedo targeted Shabaab al Mujahideen terrorists temporary surveillance and reconnaissance output approximately 10 km north of Daresalam village which lies 20 km South East of Konton where Kenya Army AMISOM contingent has an FOB. The terrorist organization had set up the outpost to mirror and subsequently threaten the Forward Operating Base.

Among those killed in the airstrike include Shabaab’s chief Zakat collector in Gedo Maalim Yussuf mohamud Digale.”

In the headline of the news piece it says that 11 people were killed.

The incident occured at 11:45 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–11

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Weelshit, allegedly 10km north of Daresalam. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Daresalam are: 3.11895, 46.39165.

  • Reports of the incident mention the village of Weelshit, allegedly 10km north of Daresalam.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–11

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM319a

Incident date

September 21, 2020

Location

Jana Cabdalle, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.02819, 42.287022 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike targeted a vehicle in Jana Cabdalle, AFRICOM confirmed to Airwars via email.

The Africa Command stated: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jana Cabdalle, Somalia on Sept. 21 to prevent a military vehicle from being commandeered by al-Shabaab terrorists.

The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike destroyed one already damaged military vehicle that was being scavenged by al-Shabaab members.

U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

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

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Jana Cabdalle, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.02819, 42.287022. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jana Cabdalle, Somalia on Sept. 21 to prevent a military vehicle from being commandeered by al-Shabaab terrorists.
The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike destroyed one already damaged military vehicle that was being scavenged by al-Shabaab members.
U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

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

Incident Code

USSOM319-C

Incident date

September 20, 2020

Location

Moyiloow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.18433, 44.65022 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Eight civilians were allegedly killed in a joint US/Somali military operation near Tortorrow.

Halgan Media said: “US trained Somali Paramilitary Forces (Danab) executed 8 civilians inside a Mosque during an overnight raid targeting the village of Moyiloow in the Lower Shabelle province of Somalia. All the victims where executed at close range. Two of them where brothers.”

The Horn of Africa Centre for Regional Studies reported a Danab special forces operation in the area with aerial support from the US. It said eight suspected Al Shabaab members had been killed.

In its fourth quarter civilian casualty assessment AFRICOM wrote: “On Sept. 21, 2020 USAFRICOM received one (1) report from an online media source claiming eight (8) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali/U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia on Sept. 21, 2020. USAFRICOM’s assessment is ongoing.”

Airwars has so far not been able to find a clear allegation of civilian harm against US forces.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Moyiloow, alternatively spelled Moyanow, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.18433, 44.65022. 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
    Under investigation
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • On Sept. 21, 2020 USAFRICOM received one (1) report from an online media source claiming eight (8) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali/U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia on Sept. 21, 2020. USAFRICOM’s assessment is ongoing.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM318

Incident date

September 9, 2020

Location

Amreereey, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.42943, 42.715401 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

An alleged US drone strike killed 17 Al Shabaab fighters near Amreereey.

SNA, the Somali forces’ radio, said that the strike “was carried out in collaboration with the Somali National Army and its international allies, took place in Amrerey area of Jilib district in Middle Juba region.” It added: “The militants killed in the shelling were 17 as well as al-Shabaab’s chief of finance for Jubba regions, Sheikh Abdullahi Ali Adan.”

Halgan Media quoted the SNA piece and said 18 militants were killed in an apparent error. It suspected that US drones conducted the strikes.

In an email to Airwars, AFRICOM said that it conducted the last strike in Somalia on August 25th. However, a CIA drone strike remains a possibility.

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
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    17

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of the Amreereey area. A possible location for this area is the Mareerey area, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.42943, 42.715401. 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
    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
    17

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM317

Incident date

September 7, 2020

Location

IVO Janay Abdalle, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.02819, 42.287022 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Several militants were allegedly killed or injured by an Al Shabaab VBIED and subsequent exchange of gunfire near Janay Cabdalle.

The New York Times reported: “Three Somali military officers were killed and two others injured along with an American service member in a bombing in southern Somalia on Monday, the authorities said, the latest example of a deadly insurgency that has continued to wreak havoc in the Horn of Africa nation.

Officials in Jubaland State said an explosives-laden pickup truck exploded around 8 a.m. at a military outpost in the Jana Abdalle area in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia. The attack came just days after Somali forces, with the support of American military personnel, reclaimed the area from the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab.”

Somali Memo, close to Al Shabaab, said: “Al-Shabaab said in a statement that the car bomb attack killed at least 16 US-trained militants and wounded 12 others.”

Caleb Weiss quotes another Al Shabaab statement saying “the suicide bombing killed and wounded 7 US soldiers and killed 16 Somali special forces.”

The AFRICOM statement said: “One U.S. service member was injured in an attack by al-Shabaab this morning in the vicinity of Jana Cabdalle, Somalia. U.S. and Somali forces were conducting an advise, assist and accompany mission when al-Shabaab attacked using a vehicle employed as an improvised explosive device and mortar fire. The U.S. service member is in stable condition and receiving treatment for injuries that are not assessed to be life-threatening. It is also assessed at least one al-Shabaab fighter was killed during the attack.”

The incident occured at approximately 8:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3–12

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Jana Abdalle, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.02819, 42.287022. 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

The following statement is attributed to Col. Chris Karns, U.S. Africa Command’s director of public affairs:

One U.S. service member was injured in an attack by al-Shabaab this morning in the vicinity of Jana Cabdalle, Somalia. U.S. and Somali forces were conducting an advise, assist and accompany mission when al-Shabaab attacked using a vehicle employed as an improvised explosive device and mortar fire. The U.S. service member is in stable condition and receiving treatment for injuries that are not assessed to be life-threatening. It is also assessed at least one al-Shabaab fighter was killed during the attack.

The U.S. regularly conducts advise and assist missions with Somali partner forces. The collective efforts of the U.S. and Somalia place pressure on al-Shabaab, limiting their ability to extend their reach and movement. al-Shabaab remains a dangerous enemy. Continued pressure is being placed on this Al Qaeda-affiliated threat to limit its ability to expand and export violence, terrorism, and crime more broadly.

Somalia Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3–12

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM316

Incident date

August 25, 2020

Location

Saakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.63938, 42.452171 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

One senior Al Shabaab member was allegedly killed by US airstrike on Saakow.

AFRICOM said in its press release: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab senior leader in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, on Aug. 25.

The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.

U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

Morad News, a source close to Al Shabaab, confirmed the death of the target and named him as Sheikh Abduqadir Kumandos.

SONNA said his name at birth was Abdikadir Osman Yarow. In an apparent contradiction to the AFRICOM report the SONNA statement said the raid took place “in the early hours of Monday.” It added: “The operation took place in Adad Gari village in Habibiyaal area between Dinsor and Bardhere towns.”

Garowe interviewed a Danab commander on the raid: “The officer further said the militants were holding a meeting at the vicinity of Saakow town, a notorious hideout for the Al-Shabaab when the raid happened.”

AFRICOM later confirmed that Kumandos was the target.

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 (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Saakow, for which the generic coordinates are: 1.63938, 42.452171. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab senior leader in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, on Aug. 25.
“Working with our Somali partners, we continue to weaken and degrade the al-Shabaab network,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, deputy director for operations, U.S. Africa Command. “Our efforts are increasing security and helping to disrupt al-Shabaab’s future plans and ambitions.”
Together with partner and international forces, U.S. Africa Command activities are designed to improve security conditions and prevent al-Shabaab's desire to expand their reach.
The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.
U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires strong governance and providing economic programs and opportunity for the Somali people.
In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces contribute to the training of Somali forces and use a range of effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people.
U.S. Africa Command continues to work with its Somali partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

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 (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM315a

Incident date

August 24, 2020

Location

دار السلام, Darusalaam, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.92135, 44.78777 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Six Al Shabaab members were allegedly killed and three more injured by a US strike in combination with a US/Somali ground operation near Darusalaam. Local sources claimed US soldiers had been injured which AFRICOM denied.

A report from Halgan Media said: “US trained Somali paramilitary forces, commonly referred to as “Danab” carried out counter terrorism operations under the cover of US air power in the volatile Lower Shabelle province of Somalia.

The Somali paramilitary militia (Danab) carried out groups ops targeting outlining villages near the Al Shabaab controlled district of Awdheegle, which has been a Militant stronghold for a number of years.

During the ground ops, scores of militants where reportedly killed, while a large catche of weapons and logistical equipment was seized according to Paramilitary commander Ismacil Cabdimalik Macaalin, who spoke to the local press.

[…]

On a similar note, Ismacil revealed they received aerial support from there American counterparts, which led to the US carrying out a series of strikes targeting the village of Daarusalam. At least 10 suspected Al Shabaab militants where alleged to have been killed in this particular drone raid, Ismacil reveled.”

It later tweeted: “Three #US soldiers where wounded when there Military convoy struck a Roadside Bomb in the village of #Daarusalam in the Lower Shabelle province of #Somalia. The wounded Americans where rushed to the nearby #US drone base (Balidogle) for medical treatment.”

Somali Memo, like Halgan Media close to Al Shabaab, said seven Somali soldiers had been killed and one American wounded.

The AFRICOM press release responded to the claims: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one (1) airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces from a building in the vicinity of Dar as Salam, Somalia, Aug. 24.

When this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the vicinity in order to advise and assist Somali partner forces. Al-Shabaab falsely claimed U.S. casualties. No U.S. forces were injured or killed during the attack.

Initial assessments indicate that the airstrike killed six (6) terrorists and wounded three (3) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrikes.”

Garowe reported: “Gen. Ismail Abdimalik, the Danab’s 60th unit commander, told SNA Radio that the army waged an operation at Daru-Salam area in Lower Shebelle killing several militants among them a “top Al-Shabaab operative” who is believed to be a trainer and an explosives expert.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–6

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Darusalaam (دار السلام), for which the generic coordinates are: 1.92135, 44.78777. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one (1) airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces from a building in the vicinity of Dar as Salam, Somalia, Aug. 24.

"Al-Shabaab is a dangerous enemy," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, deputy director for operations, U.S. Africa Command. "It is a danger to Africa and the United States. “We will continue to place pressure on the network and impact their ability to plan and execute these acts."

Al-Shabaab leadership has expressed its primary desire is to conduct attacks not just in East Africa, but against Americans and U.S. interests across the globe. International efforts and the persistent pressure placed on al-Shabaab helps contain the group's broader ambitions and desire to conduct attacks beyond Somali borders.

When this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the vicinity in order to advise and assist Somali partner forces. Al-Shabaab falsely claimed U.S. casualties. No U.S. forces were injured or killed during the attack.

"Al-Shabaab routinely resorts to the tradecraft of terror, crime, and propaganda to intimidate and seek control of the local populace," said Col. Chris Karns, director of public affairs, U.S. Africa Command. "Persistent pressure against the al-Shabaab damages their narrative, network, and plans for broader destruction and violence."

Initial assessments indicate that the airstrike killed six (6) terrorists and wounded three (3) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrikes.

As part of an international effort, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. interagency partners continue to help support Somali-led efforts to counter and contain dangerous terrorist organizations from exporting violence more broadly.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–6

Sources (10) [ collapse]