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
Confirmed
Fair
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

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

USSOM326-C

Incident date

January 1, 2021

Location

حرمك, Kunya Barrow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.794763, 43.384756 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were initially reported wounded in two US airstrikes on Kunya Barrow, local reports claimed. AFRICOM later confirmed that three civilians were in fact injured in the attack.

Radio Al Furqaan, the Al Shabaab-affiliated radio station bombed in the incident, said at the time: “On Friday afternoon, January 1, 2021, US warplanes bombed the headquarters of Al-Furqan Islamic Radio in Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle region, destroying the station’s building and equipment.

There were no casualties among the staff and staff of the station who were absent from the station at the time of the evening prayers, but civilians were injured in the vicinity of the station, especially an elderly man who was critically injured and a woman.”

In a press release the station added: “Al-Furqan is an independent media organization that was established in 2009 and has always been the voice of the oppressed people of Somalia, reporting objectively and impartially on the decades-old conflict in Somalia. Since our first broadcast, we have had to endure the challenges of working in a conflict zone and worked under extremely difficult circumstances in order to reveal the harsh realities of the U.S-led war in Somalia to the world.

Our offices in Southern Somalia are well known to the public and are not affiliated with or connected to Al-Shabaab. Our offices do not serve as training camps or headquarters for Al-Shabaab, rather they are public venues, easily accessible to the general public.”

However, other sources such as Radio Dalsan contest that view and say that Al Shabaab and Radio Al Furqaan are closely connected.

AFRICOM said in its initial press release: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in Somalia on Jan. 1, 2021. Both strikes targeted al-Shabaab compounds in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Current assessments indicate the strikes killed three and wounded one al-Shabaab members and destroyed six and damaged one al-Shabaab compound buildings. The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.”

Halgan Media and Garowe both said the strikes were conducted by a drone.

In its first quarterly assessment in 2021 AFRICOM said the incident was under review. In July 2021, it confirmed civilian harm, noting: “After a thorough assessment of the information and circumstances following the Jan. 1, 2021, airstrike, U.S. Africa Command assessed that more likely than not, the airstrike inadvertently injured three (3) civilians.”

The second strike noted on this date is reflected in USSOM327.

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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (26) [ collapse]

  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
    Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
    Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Footage of the strike on Kunya Barrow on January 1st, 2021 (via AFRICOM)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a compound being struck within the city of Kunya Barrow (حرمك). According to one source, @esj_news, the exact coordinates for this strike are: 0.794763, 43.384756. Analyzing audio-visual material from sources, we can confirm this location to be accurate.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    3
  • Stated location
    Vicinity of Qunyo Barrow
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Aug 20, 2021
  • (Substantiated) Jan. 2, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Jan. 1, 2021. After a thorough assessment of the information and circumstances following the Jan. 1, 2021, airstrike, U.S. Africa Command assessed that more likely than not, the airstrike inadvertently injured three (3) civilians.

  • Jan. 2, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Jan. 1, 2021. U.S. Africa Command’s assessment of this report is ongoing.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Editor’s note: This release has been updated to include additional assessment.

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in Somalia on Jan. 1, 2021.

Both strikes targeted al-Shabaab compounds in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Current assessments indicate the strikes killed three and wounded one al-Shabaab members and destroyed six and damaged one al-Shabaab compound buildings.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation. We take significant measures to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations while we continue to disrupt and apply pressure to the al-Shabaab terrorist network.

"This action clearly demonstrates our continuing commitment to Somalia and our regional partners," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, director of operations for U.S. Africa Command. "We retain the means and the will to strike the al-Shabaab terrorist network when necessary to protect the region and ultimately, our own nation.”

U.S. Africa Command and its international partners recognize the importance of stability in Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional security interests.

"Al-Shabaab remains a threat to Somalia’s future and U.S. interests, and we will continue to disrupt their efforts to terrorize innocents,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Our strikes help keep these terrorists off balance to help our partners then address deeper problems such as governance and development.”

U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with East African countries to help provide political, economic, and physical stability in the region and to work with international and African partners to achieve long-term security goals in Somalia for the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

A video of the mission strike has been posted at: https://go.usa.gov/xA9ZV

____

Original release: In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in Somalia on Jan. 1, 2021.



Both strikes targeted al-Shabaab compounds in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Final assessments are ongoing, however the initial assessment concluded the strikes resulted in the destruction of both targeted compounds.



The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation. We take significant measures to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations while we continue to disrupt and apply pressure to the al-Shabaab terrorist network.



"This action clearly demonstrates our continuing commitment to Somalia and our regional partners," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, director of operations for U.S. Africa Command. "We retain the means and the will to strike the al-Shabaab terrorist network when necessary to protect the region and ultimately, our own nation.”



U.S. Africa Command and its international partners recognize the importance of stability in Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional security interests.



“Al-Shabaab remains a threat to Somalia’s future and U.S. interests, and we will continue to disrupt their efforts to terrorize civilians,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Our strikes help keep these terrorist off balance to help our partners then address deeper problems such as governance and development.”



U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with East African countries to help provide political, economic, and physical stability in the region and to work with international and African partners to achieve long-term security goals in Somalia for the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM305-C

Incident date

April 6, 2020

Location

جيليب, Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.494527, 42.777868 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were killed and one child injured by a US airstrike near Jilib, according to a number of local sources.

Mareeg said that at least two civilians had been killed.

Halgan Media claimed the following: “Suspected US drones launched a series of strikes overnight bombing the Al Shabaab controlled town of Jilib in the Middle Jubba province of Somalia. Sources that spoke with Halgan Media on condition of anonymity reveal three missiles rained down on the town in the midst of the night. The strikes struck a densely populated neighborhood in the town. Three civilians where instantly killed in the deadly drone strike according to sources. The victims have been identified as two males and a women.”

Morad News tweeted that a child was injured in addition to three civilians killed.

AFRICOM itself insisted it had caused no civilian harm: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Apr. 6. The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed five (5) terrorists.

“U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike. U.S. Africa Command is aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from the April 6, 2020 airstrike in Jilib, Somalia. As with any allegation of civilian casualties U.S. Africa Command receives and reviews any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties.”

Later AFRICOM detailed the rebuttal of civilian harm in its quarterly civilian harm report: “Contrary to the allegations stating the airstrike targeted civilians, including a child and an elderly woman, an airstrike was executed on April 6, 2020 against five adult males which U.S. intelligence confirmed were al-Shabaab members. No civilians were observed in the area before or after the strike. Strike images confirmed that the effects were limited to the five al-Shabaab members. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action. Additionally, the sources of the allegations are known al-Shabaab media and propaganda outlets, or are sympathetic to al-Shabaab. The sources used photos that were published in 2019.”

The original source of the images cannot be found at this time. In an email to Airwars, AFRICOM clarified “that it did appear on a Somalia-based website in 2019” but refused to give any further details.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • (1 woman2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Alleged victim of US strike on Jilib on April 6th, 2020 (via Morad News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Alleged victim of US strike on Jilib on April 6th, 2020 (via Morad News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Ahmed Hussein, allegedly injured in US strike on Jilib on April 6th, 2020 (via Morad News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Alleged victim of US strike on Jilib on April 6th, 2020 (via Morad News)
  • Ahmed Hussein, allegedly injured in US strike on Jilib on April 6th, 2020 (via Shahad News)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention multiple strikes in the vicinity of Jilib (جيليب) town, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.494527, 42.777868. 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
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • April 6, 2020, (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received four allegations from online media sources and social media accounts claiming three (3) civilians were killed and one (1) civilian injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on April 6, 2020. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. Contrary to the allegations stating the airstrike targeted civilians, including a child and an elderly woman, an airstrike was executed on April 6, 2020 against five adult males which U.S. intelligence confirmed were al-Shabaab members. No civilians were observed in the area before or after the strike. Strike images confirmed that the effects were limited to the five al-Shabaab members. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action. Additionally, the sources of the allegations are known al-Shabaab media and propaganda outlets, or are sympathetic to al-Shabaab. The sources used photos that were published in 2019.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Apr. 6.

"By assisting our partners in East Africa, we diminish a serious threat to Somalia as well as to the U.S. homeland," said Col. Christopher Karns, director of public affairs, U.S. Africa Command. "Our efforts help to protect Somalis, Americans, and our international partners. We take this responsibility very seriously and continue to place pressure on the enemy."

The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed five (5) terrorists.

U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike. U.S. Africa Command is aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from the April 6, 2020 airstrike in Jilib, Somalia. As with any allegation of civilian casualties U.S. Africa Command receives and reviews any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties.

U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires providing programs and opportunity for the Somali people.

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia and Somali National Army forces. Together with the partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development.

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
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • (1 woman2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM298a-C

Incident date

March 17–18, 2020

Location

Beerta Xassan Huutaan, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.176352, 45.150204 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Between one and two civilians were allegedly killed in a US and Somali forces raid or airstrike on Beerta Xassan Huutaan near Afgoye.

The pro Al Shabaab outlet Halgan Media said: “Sources reveal US and Somali special forces raided a rural farming village outside the town of Afgoye in the Lower Shabelle province of Somalia. The joint unit shot and killed an elderly man, than abducted 8 other people that where whisked away in unmarked helicopters.”

It later added: “The elderly man that was shot and killed is 70 years old. He was executed during the raid while tending to his crops.”

Morad News tweeted: “At least 2 farmers killed incl 70 yr old man after Somali troops backed by US special forces attack farm village near Afgoye town in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. Residents in the farm village also say 8 other farmers have been abducted by the troops – Residents”

Kamal Hassan Hussein posted on Facebook that “eight people, including one of my aunt Abdulahi Ali Arale, were abducted on a farm about 5km from Afgoye, two days ago.” He added that aircraft and mortars were used.

Halgan Media said: “Local contacts based in the Lower Shabelle province have been able to confirm the identity of the victim. Whats more surprising is that the death tole has increased to a total of two as a result of the botch US led night raid. Sources have identified the elderly victim as Xassan Cuuke, a native of El Buur town in Central Somalia yet worked at a farming village in the Lower Shabelle province.”

The event was not mentioned in AFRICOM second quarterly civilian casualty assessment.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Supposed location of raid or airstrike in Beerta Xassan Huutaan around March 17th, 2020 (via Kamal Hassan Hussein)
  • Destruction after raid or airstrike on Beerta Xassan Huutaan around March 17th, 2020 (via Kamal Hassan Hussein)

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Open incident
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

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, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM293-C

Incident date

March 10, 2020

Location

Near Janaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.80953, 44.69345 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Between four and six civilians were allegedly killed by a US airstrike near Janaale.

Morad News, reportedly close to Al Shabaab, tweeted: “US drone strike kills 4 civilians after bombing a minibus near Janaale town. 2 of the victims r members of a well known family in Mogadishu. An elderly man & driver are among the victims. GRAPHIC photos from scene of the drone strike published.”

Halgan Media wrote: “Many civilians where killed today in a US drone strike in Somalia. The Americans are more than likely to claim responsibility for the strike within the next 48 hours and I’m more than certain the victims, in this case which are women and children will be labeled as Terrorists.”

AFRICOM officially declared the strike, saying the victims were members of Al Shabaab: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia, Mar. 10. The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed five (5) terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

On the allegations of civilian harm it added: “While we currently assess that this airstrike injured no civilians, we are aware of social media reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this strike. U.S. Africa Command complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions during the targeting process to minimize civilian casualties and other collateral damage. As with any allegation of civilian casualties, U.S. Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties, and take appropriate action based on the outcome of this review.”

According to Anadolu, “the U.S. African Command airstrike in the town of Janale in the lower Shabelle region killed at least six unarmed civilians who were traveling to the capital Mogadishu, Mahad Dhoore, a lawmaker from the Southwest state, told local media on Thursday.”

Al Jazeera added: “The victims were civilians travelling in a minibus heading to the capital Mogadishu, Abdullahi Abdirahman Ali, who lost his father in the air strike, said.
‘The Americans are lying. They killed my elderly father. He is 70 years old and can barely move. He can’t walk without the help of a walking stick. He is not al-Shabab,’ Abdullahi told Al Jazeera.

‘They killed these civilians because they know no one will take action against them,’ he added, anger palpable in his voice. One of the other victims was a 13-year-old boy, relatives said. Photos posted online show some of the bodies burned beyond recognition and the wreckage of a blood-soaked vehicle.

‘The minibus was going to Mogadishu. If the Americans suspected anything, they could have waited for them there. For them it is easier to kill civilians than to question them,’ Abdullahi added.”

The Intercept published a detailed investigation of the incident saying: “But Farhan Mahmoud Mohammed, a resident of Janaale who spoke to The Intercept by phone last Friday, told a different story.

Mohammed’s 13-year-old son Abdi Farhan Mahmoud was on his way to school when a U.S. missile struck a mini-bus taxi he was riding in. Mahmoud was decapitated in the strike, his father said. He could hardly bear to look at the boy’s charred face.

Another passenger in the minibus, 70-year-old Abdirahman Ali Waadhoor, was also killed in the attack, according to his son Abdullahi Abdirahman Ali. ‘My father is a disabled man. He never had a problem with anyone.’ said Ali, who lives in London and saw pictures of his father’s corpse on his phone. Asked how he felt when he saw the images, Ali replied: ‘That’s not my father. It’s only meat. Brown meat.'”

Human Rights Watch later received information about the victims and “found that at least 6 people were killed in the strike, including 3 men over age 55 and a 13-year-old boy, who were on their way home to Mogadishu and nearby Elasha Biyaha. No evidence was found of any links to Al-Shabab.

Human Rights Watch received unconfirmed information that two Al-Shabab fighters may have boarded the minibus in or near Ugunji. Their presence may have been the basis for the US strike against the bus. The attack may have been unlawfully disproportionate, depending on the military importance of the alleged Al-Shabab fighters.”

In its civilian casualty assessment third quarter report AFRICOM said the incident was currently under review. In the following report it said: “On May 8, 2020, USAFRICOM closed this report as unsubstantiated. USAFRICOM received a new report of this incident from a NGO on May 15, 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. USAFRICOM received a duplicate report of this incident from an online media source on June 17, 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. USAFRICOM received six (6) duplicate reports of this incident via the USAFRICOM CIVCAS website on July 28 and 30 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. USAFRICOM has reopened this case and our assessment is ongoing.”

In another civilian casualty report AFRICOM said the claims of civilian harm were  unsubstantiated: “The assessment concluded that the U.S. airstrike that occurred March 10, 2020 in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia targeted a vehicle containing five (5) al-Shabaab members after the vehicle departed an al-Shabaab compound. The airstrike occurred in open terrain and the effects of the strike were limited to the vehicle. Contrary to some reports, the vehicle was not traveling in the direction of Mogadishu. The source of the initial March 10, 2020 report is a known al-Shabaab propaganda outlet and their report contained a recirculated photograph taken in 2019, before the airstrike occurred. This photograph appears to have been recycled from a previous report of civilian casualties. Forensic analysis indicated that other photographs utilized by the al-Shabaab propaganda outlet were deliberately manipulated.”

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (1 child4 men)
  • 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
    0–5

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

  • Radio report on the incident
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Car supposedly destroyed by US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Janaale, for which, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The coordinates for Janaale are: 1.80953, 44.69345.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • March 10, 2020, USAFRICOM received two allegations from online media sources claiming four (4) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia, on March 10, 2020. USAFRICOM received four duplicate allegations of this incident from online media sources on March 11, 2020, that changed the number of civilians killed to a range from four (4) to up to ten (10) civilians. USAFRICOM received three additional duplicate allegations of this incident from online media sources on March 12, 2020, claiming six (6) civilians were killed, and one duplicate allegation from an online media source on March 19, 2020, claiming two (2) civilians were killed. USAFRICOM received a duplicate allegation of this incident on April 1, 2020 from an online media source. USAFRICOM received a duplicate allegation of this incident from a Non-Government Organization on May 15, 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. USAFRICOM received a duplicate allegation of this incident from an online media source on June 17, 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians.

  • Between March 10, 2020, and April 1, 2020, USAFRICOM received multiple reports from sources variously claiming four (4) to ten (10) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia, on March 10, 2020. On May 8, 2020, USAFRICOM closed this report as unsubstantiated. USAFRICOM received a new report of this incident from a NGO on May 15, 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. USAFRICOM received a duplicate report of this incident from an online media source on June 17, 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. USAFRICOM received six (6) duplicate reports of this incident via the USAFRICOM CIVCAS website on July 28 and 30 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. USAFRICOM has reopened this case and our assessment is ongoing.

  • (Unsubstantiated) Between March 10, 2020, and April 1, 2020, U.S. Africa Command received multiple reports from various sources stating between four (4) and ten (10) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia that occurred on March 10, 2020. On May 8, 2020, U.S. Africa Command closed this report as unsubstantiated. Subsequently, U.S. Africa Command received a new report of this incident from a NGO on May 15, 2020, claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians who were in a taxi, traveling in the direction of Mogadishu. On June 17, 2020, U.S. Africa Command received another report of this incident from an online media source, with content mirroring the NGO report from May 15, 2020. On July 28 and 30, 2020, U.S. Africa Command received six (6) additional reports of this incident via the U.S. Africa Command Civilian Casualty reporting website (https://www.africom.mil/civilian-casualty-reporting), also claiming the airstrike killed six (6) civilians. As a result of the new reports made between May 15 and July 30, 2020, U.S. Africa Command reopened its assessment. The assessment concluded that the U.S. airstrike that occurred March 10, 2020 in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia targeted a vehicle containing five (5) al-Shabaab members after the vehicle departed an al-Shabaab compound. The airstrike occurred in open terrain and the effects of the strike were limited to the vehicle. Contrary to some reports, the vehicle was not traveling in the direction of Mogadishu. The source of the initial March 10, 2020 report is a known al-Shabaab propaganda outlet and their report contained a recirculated photograph taken in 2019, before the airstrike occurred. This photograph appears to have been recycled from a previous report of civilian casualties. Forensic analysis indicated that other photographs utilized by the al-Shabaab propaganda outlet were deliberately manipulated. U.S. Africa Command's first and second assessments of these reports of civilian casualties determined that the reports of civilian casualties occurred as a result of the U.S. airstrike on March 10, 2020 are unsubstantiated.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia, Mar. 10.
“Our strikes are a key effort to combatting terror and helping to bring stability to Somalia,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of operations. “Not only do they degrade al-Shabaab’s ability to conduct violent activities in the region, but they illuminate the fighter network and impede the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist organization’s ability to recruit and export terrorism.”
The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed five (5) terrorists.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
In Somalia the U.S. works closely with our international partners on security sector development efforts, which include the United Nations, European Union, African Union, AMISOM and other troop contributing countries. Together, we remain committed to Somali-led progress on improving conditions for a well-trained Somali National Security Force that can assume and sustain security within the country. U.S. capabilities, influence, and credibility, provides critical support to Somali efforts, including assistance coordinating other international partner engagement. Incremental progress within Somalia is occurring because of the ongoing international effort.
U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. The partner and allied forces we work with on a daily basis are trying to create security conditions to enhance governance and economic development. As such, U.S. Africa Command's security cooperation efforts are closely linked with the U.S. Embassy in Somalia's political and economic initiatives targeting the root causes of instability.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (1 child4 men)
  • 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
    0–5

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM282-C

Incident date

February 24, 2020

Location

the Masalanja farm near the village of Kumbareere, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.577719, 42.717772 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

The US declared on the same date an airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib – which it said had killed “one terrorist.” However local sources, some pro al Shabaab, said the victim was in fact Mohamud Haji Sirad, a director of the Hormud telecoms company for Middle Juba.

According to the Somali Guardian Mr Sirad was in his early 50s [or early 60s according to others]. It said Hormud had confirmed his death and had sent condolences to his family. A statement issued by the telecoms company insisted Mr Salad was a civilian with no connection with any militant organisation.

Morad News – a generally pro Shabaab site – reported via Twitter that “#US drone strike kills director of #Somalia’s @Hormuud telecommunications company in Middle Juba region, Mohamud Haji Sirad – Residents. Mohamud, who’s in his 50s, was inside his farm near #Jilib town during the drone strike according to witnesses.”

According to Morad, the following day “Hundreds of #Jilib residents gather for funeral and burial of Mahamud Haji Salad, a prominent businessman & director of #Somalia’s  @Hormuud telecom company in Middle Juba region, who was killed in a #US drone strike inside his farm near #Jilib town yesterday.”

Both Reuters and Voice of America cited Hormud officials as insisting that Mr Sirad was innocent: “Somalia’s biggest telecommunications company says one of its employees was killed a U.S. airstrike Monday near the al-Shabab-held town of Jilib, Middle Jubba region,” noted VOA.

“Spokesperson for the company Adnan Haji Ali said the head of the company’s office in Jilib was killed on his farm. The company identified the man as Mohamud Haji Salad, the Manager of Hormud telecommunications branch in Jilib town. ‘We confirm that this man was our employee,’ says Ali. ‘He had nothing to do with any group or organization.'”

Reuters noted: “‘Mr. Salad was highly respected among his colleagues and a valued member of the Hormuud team. He had a strong work ethic and he was known to be a good father to his children,’ Hormuud Chief Operating Officer Abdirashid Ali said in a statement.” The news agency also noted that Hormud employees and infrastructure had come under recent attack from US, Kenyan and al Shabaab forces.

Garowe Online reported: “Hormuud Telecom said the slain manager, Mahamud Haji Sirad was a “diligent” worker who coordinated the company’s activity within Middle Juba, the company said. ‘We are appalled that such airstrikes are targeting civilians,’ the company said in a statement. ‘He was our director within Middle Juba and has no links with Al-Shabaab.’ Family sources said the slain director was leaving his farm when the drone dropped, killing him instantly and on the site. Meanwhile, Somali State media reported on Monday that the man killed in the American military operation was a ‘terrorist’.”

In April 2020, Amnesty International published a case study of the airstrike, writing that 53-year-old “Mohamud Salad Mohamud was a prominent businessman, banana farmer, and the Hormuud Telecommunication Company’s Jilib office manager. He left behind eight children and a wife.”

Mohamud’s younger brother, Abdiaziz Salad Mohamud, told Amnesty that he met his brother at the Hormuud office in Jilib on the day of his death. Abdiaziz stated that his brother told him that “he was in good health after his visit to Mogadishu and that he was planning to go and see his Masalanja farm later that day.”

It was around 3:45 PM when Abdiaziz heard the sound of a blast coming from the farm’s direction. Two planes had allegedly been hovering over the town that day. Abdiaziz: “My other brother Faysal [Salad Mohamud] and I called the only worker on the farm and asked him what happened, he said they were under attack, he was hiding and could not see Mohamud.”

Abdiaziz and Faysal reportedly took a motorbike and rushed to the farm. “When we arrived at the farm, we saw blood all over the place, especially near the irrigation canal and near the banana trees. His body was cut into pieces. I recognized his face and his left leg. I collected the pieces of his body parts and flesh and put them into a sack. It was just shocking. Two planes were still hovering over us as I collected the remains of his body.”

Amnesty International’s weapons experts identified fragments of an American AGM-114 Hellfire missile in an analysis of a video of the site – suggesting a strike by Reaper drone.

Two senior officials at Hormuud, the telecoms company Mohamud worked for since 2006, told Amnesty that the victim was not a member of Al Shabaab and was in fact arrested three times by the insurgent group for not complying with their orders. One of the officials stated: “I was travelling back from Lower Shabelle that afternoon when I heard the news of his death, I thought he was killed by Al-Shabaab. I never imagined he would be killed by the US or by the Somalia government.”

Abdiaziz Haji Salad told Al Jazeera about his brother: “[Mohamud] was a very generous man. Always ready to help those who had less than him. More than 40 people depended on him.”

Salad said it is unclear to him why the US forces did not arrest his brother, as they have a base in Mogadishu: “Why did they not arrest him when he was in Mogadishu if what they are saying is true? He was in Mogadishu for 30 days working. […] He is well known and often travelled to government-controlled areas for work. No one ever said anything to him. He is an innocent man. I don’t even think they know who they killed.”

In its second quarterly civilian casualty assessment, AFRICOM assured no civilian were harmed: “On February 24, 2020 an airstrike was executed against an individual which U.S. intelligence, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed was an al-Shabaab commander. The strike was conducted in a remote area where effects were confirmed to be limited to the individual. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

The incident occured at approximately 3:45 pm local time.

  • Mohamud Haji Sirad 53 years old male banana farmer and Jilib office manager for Hormuud Telecom killed

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

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (13) [ collapse]

  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • Mohamud Salad Mohamud's Hormuud Telecom, the company he worked for, identification card (via Amnesty International).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Masalanja farm being struck in the vicinity of Kumbareere village, for which due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Kumbareere are: 0.577719, 42.717772.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • February 25, 2020 (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received five allegations from online media sources and social media accounts claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on February 24, 2020. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On February 24, 2020 an airstrike was executed against an individual which U.S. intelligence, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed was an al-Shabaab commander. The strike was conducted in a remote area where effects were confirmed to be limited to the individual. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.

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 terrorist in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 24.

“Our persistent actions against al-Shabaab ensures constant and continued pressure on this malign network,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of operations. “Our collective efforts help enhance security in the region and put al-Shabaab on notice, making both Somalia and the U.S. safer in the process.”

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. Currently, our command assesses the al-Qaeda-aligned group lacks the capability to strike the U.S. homeland due to the persistent pressure placed on the group led by our African partners.

Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.

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

As part of an international effort, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. interagency partners 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, 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

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM278-C

Incident date

February 17, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.494527, 42.777868 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Two civilians, including a child, were reportedly injured in a US airstrike on Jilib. AFRICOM later admitted that the strike led to civilian harm.

Somali Memo, a news site close to Al Shabaab, wrote: “Reports from Jilib district say that a drone crashed into a civilian residence yesterday, killing no one but injuring two civilians, including a minor. Residents said the missiles fired at the buildings destroyed them, and that an elderly man and a minor were injured.”

The Somali Guardian noted that “At least two civilians have been wounded in a US drone strike in Somalia’s Middle Juba region, AFRICOM has claimed responsibility. Reports from the town of Jilib in the Middle Juba region of Somalia say two civilians have been injured in an air bombardment carried out by unmanned drone. A young girl and an elderly man sustained injuries after missiles hit their home in the middle of a residential area, family members have confirmed to local Somali media outlets.”

AFRICOM itself confirmed conducting the strike but said no civilians were harmed: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 17. Initial assessments conclude one (1) al-Shabaab facility was destroyed as a result of this airstrike. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

SONNA said the strike took place inside the city of Jilib.

Other sources either referred to the AFRICOM, or to the Somali Memo report.

In its civilian casualty assessment third quarter report AFRICOM said the incident was currently under review.

The subsequent fourth quarter civilian casualty assessment confirmed that the incident resulted in civilian harm: “USAFRICOM received three reports from an online media source and social media account claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on Feb. 17, 2020. After a thorough inquiry into the facts and circumstances following the Feb. 17, 2020 airstrike, USAFRICOM assessed the airstrike resulted in the injury of two (2) civilians.”

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • AFRICOM press release
  • Ministry of Infromation press release
  • Approximate location in Somalia

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike on a compound within Jilib (جيليب) town, for which due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The coordinates for Jilib are: 0.494527, 42.777868

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    Jilib
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • February 18, 2020, USAFRICOM received three allegations from an online media source and social media account claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on February 17, 2020.

  • Feb. 18, 2020, (Substantiated) USAFRICOM received three reports from an online media source and social media account claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on Feb. 17, 2020. After a thorough inquiry into the facts and circumstances following the Feb. 17, 2020 airstrike, USAFRICOM assessed the airstrike resulted in the injury of two (2) civilians.

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 compound in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 17.

“We’re working with our partners to adversely impact al-Shabaab’s operations and ability to attack our Somali and East African partners,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “It is important to counter this al-Qaeda-aligned group’s ability and intent to plan and carry out attacks in Somalia and more broadly. This precision strike does just that.”

Initial assessments conclude one (1) al-Shabaab facility was destroyed as a result of this airstrike.

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

Somalia remains key to the security environment of East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing U.S. interests in the region. We will continue to work together on our support of the Federal Government of Somalia in its effort to bring improved governance, development and stability to the Somali people.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM274-C

Incident date

February 2, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.494527, 42.777868 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

US Africa Command declared on the same day that it had conducted an airstrike “in the vicinity of Jilib” which it said had killed “one (1) terrorist.” However local reports said that one young woman was killed and two or three other women injured in the event in Jilib town, which AFRICOM later acknowledged.

According to AFRICOM’s original press release, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab terrorist in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 2. Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

However the day after the attack, Somali reporter Mohamed Osman Ali tweeted: “Very sad to learn that an airstrike on Sunday evening killed my brother-in-law’s daughter, and injured two of his daughters and his mother who is also my aunt and my mother-in-law in Jilib town, 380 KM south of Mogadishu. surprised to those saying no civilian casualties!”.

Naming three victims on February 4th, Radio Morad said that one civilian woman had been killed and two others injured: “#AFRICOM claimed killing 1 #AlShabaab fighter & no civilians harmed. But locals reporting 3 civilian casualties, all women.”

According to the Somali Guardian, “Residents told Somali media outlets that a US drone carried out the strike on Monday night which fired several missiles to a residential area inside Jilib town. Several missiles hit a civilian home killing a 17-year-old mentally ill girl, wounding her mother and younger sister who were then rushed to a hospital.”

According to the Defence Post, an AFRICOM official was informed by a relative of the civilian deaths prior to its announcement of no harm: “Abdi said his family was unable to obtain photo evidence of the incident because Shabaab does not allow smartphones in its territory, but confirmed the identity of his relatives in photos posted on Twitter, and provided The Defense Post with other family photos for comparison. Abdi is not sure who took the photos that were posted online, but the experienced journalist said it may have been members of al-Shabaab. He said it was possible the strike may have been targeting Shabaab militants outside the house because the group fully controls Jilib, about 110 km north of Kismayo in Somalia’s Middle Juba region.

“Abdi said he approached an American military officer from AFRICOM’s communications office during a conference in Mogadishu and detailed his story hours before the command released a statement assessing that no civilians were killed. ‘He only said sorry about your relatives,’ Abdi told The Defense Post. ‘He did not tell me anything further, or ask me. He said we try our best not to damage or hit civilian areas,’ he recalled. Ismael Mukhtar Omar, the Somalia Federal Government’s official spokesperson, corroborated Abdi’s account, saying he was present for the conversation with the AFRICOM officer.”

In April 2020, Amnesty International reported that 18-year-old Nurto Kusow Omar Abukar had been killed in the airstrike after she was struck in the head by a heavy metal fragment. The strike injured Nurto’s younger sisters. Fatuma (12) was struck in the clavicle and chest, and remains in the hospital as of April 2020. 7-year-old Adey was hit in the ear. The sister’s grandmother Khadija Mohamed Gedow (around 70 years old) was hit in the knee and is still unable to walk.

According to a weapon expert’s analysis of photographs of the munitions used, it was “likely a US GBU-69/B Small Glide Munition with a 16-kilogramme warhead” that hit the family’s house around 8pm on February 2nd. The report states that “the family of five, who lived in the home, had just sat down for dinner after the Isha prayer, about 8pm, when at least one munition struck their residence. The cariish home, made of wood, sticks and mud, was significantly damaged in the blast.”

The girls’ father, Kusow Omar Abukar (50) was also present in the house during the airstrike, but made it out without injuries. He told Amnesty: “I never imagined it was going to hit us. I suddenly heard a huge sound. It felt like our house had collapsed. There was a huge sound and a bright flash and a huge smoke. The sand and the smoke filled my eyes.” Mr. Omar Akubar is a farmer and, according to his relatives, not a member of Al Shabaab.

According to the report, “prior to the strike, witnesses heard the sound of an aircraft above Jilib, but reported that there was no sign of fighting in the area at that time.”

According to Amnesty International, neither the US or Somalian authorities have reached out to the Kusow family for compensations or medical assistance.

Responding to the Amnesty report, US Air Force Major Karl Wiest told the Defense Post on April 1st that an assessment of the incident is ongoing: “Our in-depth post-strike analysis relies on intelligence methods that are not available to non-military organizations, including Amnesty International.”

Al Jazeera interviewed Kusaw Omar Abukar via telephone, revealing more details about the incident. Abukar confirmed that his daughter Nurto had been disabled and that his surviving daughter Fadumo’s situation remained critical, stating that the girl had undergone two surgeries and is in desperate need of further medical assistance. “We don’t have good hospitals here. And we can’t afford to take her anywhere else”, her father told Al Jazeera.

Marine Corps Times reported that, following the Amnesty report, AFRICOM officials “said they intend to issue a new quarterly report on the status of ongoing civilian casualty allegations and assessments starting at the end of April [2020].”

Human Rights Watch published a detailed investigation into the incident saying: ” Human Rights Watch investigations indicate that 1 civilian, a woman, was killed, and 3 others were injured, including 2 girls.”

The NGO also interviewed the victims: “Nurto’s aunt, who reached the family’s home the following morning, recounted what family members told her: ‘Nurto was standing along the gate, and my mum was also near the gate. The airstrike hit the ground, the pieces went up and hit Nurto in the head and killed her.’

Nurto’s and the two girls’ father, Kusow Omar Abukar, told a relative that he heard a huge sound and then couldn’t see anything for about 30 minutes, just a lot of smoke and dust. He said he could not understand what was happening to him. He told the relative, ‘I was so worried about my daughters but couldn’t see them.'”

In its second quarterly civilian casualty report, published on July 28th 2020, AFRICOM accepted responsibility for civilian harm in this event: “Between Feb. 3 and June 17, 2020 USAFRICOM received eight total allegations as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on February 2, 2020. After a thorough assessment into the facts and circumstances following the Feb. 2, 2020 airstrike, USAFRICOM substantiates the death of one (1) civilian and three (3) injured.”

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

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • Apparent missile fragment from a February 2nd 2020 strike on Jilib (via Radio Morad)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The body of 18 year old Nurto Kusow, reportedly killed in a US strike on Jilib on February 2nd 2020 (via Radio Morad).
  • 12-year-old Fatima Kusow, reportedly injured in a US strike on Jilib on February 2nd 2020 (via Radio Morad).
  • 70 year old Khadija Mohamed, reportedly injured in a US strike on Jilib on February 2nd 2020 (via Radio Morad)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jilib, for which the coordinates are: 0.494527, 42.777868.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    1
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    3
  • Stated location
    in the vicinity of Jilib
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • February 3, 2020 (Substantiated) Between Feb. 3 and June 17, 2020 USAFRICOM received eight total allegations as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on February 2, 2020. After a thorough assessment into the facts and circumstances following the Feb. 2, 2020 airstrike, USAFRICOM substantiates the death of one (1) civilian and three (3) injured.

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 terrorist in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 2.
"Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaeda affiliate seeking to further its jihadist agenda," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "Removal of even one terrorist makes the region and the U.S. safer. Continuous pressure on the network is necessary to prevent al-Shabaab from building a safe haven and exporting violence."
Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States. In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (20) [ collapse]