US Forces in Somalia

Library image of an armed Reaper drone, December 2019 (US Air Force/ Senior Sergeant Haley Stevens)

Belligerent
Country
Somalia
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Contested
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM253

Incident date

October 25, 2019

Location

Bu'aale, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.251778, 42.575959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Local reports claimed that a pair of airstrikes by unknown intertnational powers – presumably either the United States or Kenya – had targeted al Shabaab fighters in the towns of Jamaame and Buaale.

According to Radio Kulmiye, “Another airstrikes were reported [on Octoberr 25th] from Middle Jubba region, highly controlled by Al-Shabaab. Witnesses said that Jamame and Bu’ale districts were targeted by unspecified war planes. An official named Hussien is said to heve [been] wounded the airstrike and other militants were killed. There is no government claimed responsibility, but US and Kenyan governments always conduct air strikes to eliminate Al-Shabaab. Somali government is also yet to comment these strikes.”

Somalia Online News reported al Shabaab casualties at Buaale though not at Jamaame: ”Gunmen have attacked the villages of Jamame and Buale last night and reportedly killed al-Shabaab fighters and officials. Residents told the media that at Buale an al Shabaab officer called Hussein was wounded, with several members of al-Shabaab killed.”

Asked whether it had been responsible for this event, in February 2020 a senior AFRICOM official told Airwars that this was not the case. However, this may not preclude actions by the CIA which conducts its own undeclared strikes in Somalia.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the town Bu’aale, for which the coordinates are: 1.251778, 42.575959. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM237-C

Incident date

July 3, 2019

Location

Iskushuban or Mareero, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

10.170363, 49.847404 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

According to local source, heavy fighting near the port of Bari in Puntland killed two people and injured five others, including civilians.

Radio Shabelle said that an airstrike by an unknown party had contributed to the violence – though did not blame it directly for the casualties.

“It is not clear what led to the shelling, and it is not yet known who carried out the airstrike. There was no immediate comment from the Puntland government regarding the shelling,” noted Radio Shabelle.

“There was fighting for several hours between Puntland forces and a militia guarding a migrant group operating there. Reports indicate that Puntland forces with armored vehicles attacked the militants who were based in the Marero area of ​​Bari region.

“At least two people were killed in the fighting, while five others were wounded, including civilians.”

Halgan Media – when tweeting a link to the Radio Shabelle story – claimed the strike on a location it gave as Iskashubun – had been conducted by US forces.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–5

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident gave conflicting accounts on the location where civilians were killed. Radio Shabelle reported that various places in Bari, northern Puntland, were bombed. There was heavy fighting in the Mareero area, the outskirts of the port town Bossaso, for which the coordinates are: 11.33052, 49.29675. At the same time it said that shelling took place in Iskushuban district. Halgan Media, only pointed to the town of Iskushuban as the location of a strike. The coordinates for the town of Iskushuban are: 10.28178, 50.23009. It is unclear where in Bari the civilians were killed and injured. The generic coordinates for the Bari region are: 10.170363, 49.847404. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Bossaso, Mareero and Iskushuban in the Bari region (borders of Bari marked in red)

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

Unknown
  • English
    /
    Original

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–5

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM211-C

Incident date

April 4, 2019

Location

Ukunji, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.87348, 44.72262 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A ground operation struck a minibus carrying civilians, killing one woman and injuring up to six others, local media reported. While one source claimed that the attack was conducted by drone, others said it was a ground operation, involving Somali and possibly also US troops.

The Somali Ministry of Information admitted that four civilians were injured during the event, tweeting that “During the night of 3 April SFG security forces captured a very senior al-Shabaab during a capture operation in Ugunji village in lower shabelle. Unfortunately, 4 locals were shot and injured during this raid. The 4 were in a car and failed to stop after repeated warnings. In fact, they actually sped up towards the force… The security force rendered medical aid to the vehicle occupants and released them.”

According to Garowe, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) thought to be American dropped a munition in al Shabaab controlled Ukunji, around 100km southwest of Mogadishu.

“The attack happened during a joint U.S.-Somali forces’ military operation against the Al-Qaeda-linked extremist group, Al-Shabab in the area, according to a resident, speaking to Garowe Online by phone. Other reports said residential houses and shops were also hit during the bombing. Graphic Pictures taken at the scene after the strike and seen by Garowe Online showed a bullet-riddled Nissan Homy packed with vegetables and chicken on the top as well as destroyed shopping centers,” asserted Garowe.

The alleged strike happened during a joint operation between US and Somali forces, claimed a source that Garowe interviewed.The newspaper also published 13 images it said were taken at the scene of the strike.

However other sources said the attack was a ground operation only. Action for Women and Children Concern for example tweeted that “Suspected US forces & SNAs [Somali National Army] opened fire on minibus carrying vegetables,last night. A female passenger was killed and 6 other passengers were injured,4 of them in critical condition.The incident took place in #Ungunji town,#LowerShabelle,#Somalia”.

US Africa Command is yet to comment on the allegation of civilian harm, or publicly to report any strike for this location and date. In autumn 2019, US investigative journalist Nick Turse obtained via FOIA a declassified document listing recent locally-alleged civilian harm from US actions, which AFRICOM was reviewing.

The fourth entry notes for the date April 4th 2019 that “[redacted source] published an article alleging that a drne strike killed a woman traveling to Mogadishu and wounded six others in the vicinity of Farsooley.” The outcome of AFRICOM’s assessment was entirely redacted.

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (18) [ collapse]

  • The minibus that reportedly was struck by a US strike, Ukunji, Lower Shabelle, April 4th, 2019 (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)
  • Scene of an alleged US airstrike on April 4th 2019 at Ukunji, which was said to have killed a woman and have injured six other civilians (via Garowe Online)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the village Ukunji (or Ugunji), 100 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu. The coordinates for Ukunji are: 1.87348, 44.72262. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Somalia Military Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

Somalia Military Forces

The Somali Ministry of Information admitted that four civilians were injured during the event, tweeting that "During the night of 3 April SFG security forces captured a very senior al-Shabaab during a capture operation in Ugunji village in lower shabelle. Unfortunately, 4 locals were shot and injured during this raid. The 4 were in a car and failed to stop after repeated warnings. In fact, they actually sped up towards the force... The security force rendered medical aid to the vehicle occupants and released them."

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM182-C

Incident date

January 20, 2019

Location

Radio Andalus, 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

A reported airstrike or bomb blast by an unknown party on an al Shabaab radio station in Buale or Jilib town killed up to 25 al Shabaab supporters – five of them journalists.

According to Sonna Somalia, “At least 10 people have been killed and more than 30 others injured in a bomb blast in Jilib district in Middle Jubba region, witnesses said. The shelling caused heavy casualties to Al-Shabaab journalists who were in the compound during the shelling. Officials in the Jubbaland state confirmed the shelling on Al-Andulus Radio, an Al-Shabaab radio station, killing about 20 militants. According to local media, at least five Al-Shabaab journalists were killed and the radio station was demolished.”

It named the dead journalists as Feisalal Yare, Mohamed Adan Nasrudiin, Abdikarim Seyfulah, and Hassan Abdirahman.

Mogadishu News said that 5 journalists and 20 al Shabaab fighters were killed, in what it claimed was an airstrike on Jilib town.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 5
  • (0–5 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–25
  • Belligerents reported injured
    30

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted Al Shabaab radio station Al Andalus in the town of Jilib. Some sources also mention the town Bu’aale, but Radio Andalus is known to be located in Jilib. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location for Radio Andalus. The coordinates for the town Jilib (جيليب) are: 0.494527, 42.777868.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 5
  • (0–5 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–25
  • Belligerents reported injured
    30

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM156-C

Incident date

November 18, 2018

Location

Radio Andalus, 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

Airstrikes by an unknown party destroyed part of an al-Andalus radio station in Jilib – a propaganda service run by the terror group al Shabaab. At least one person described as a journalist was reported injured or killed.

According to Middle East Monitor, “An air strike; believed to be American, has destroyed the Al-Andalus radio station; the main media platform for Somalia’s al-Shabab group in the city of Jilib in Middle Juba region, south of the country. The radio station broadcasts daily news about the attacks carried out by the rebels against government sites.

“Somalia’s Sonna news agency quoted security sources as saying that the city of Jilib witnessed last night air raids against various locations where the fighters were stationed. The sources said the radio station was one of the target sites, adding that the station’s headquarters was completely destroyed, and all those who were inside were killed.”

Voice of America reporter Harun Maruf also noted the event, though said he was unsure of the date of the alleged attack: “Al-Shabaab’s Andalus radio station in Jilib town hit in airstrike, Somali Govt radio has reported. The station didn’t specify when the strike took place. Jilib is an Al-Shabaab stronghold in southern Somalia.”

US military officials publicly denied responsibility for the attack – though this left open the possibility of CIA involvement. The radio station was again targeted on January 20th 2019 by an unknown party – killing five more individuals described as al Shabaab journalists according to local reports.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted the Al Shabaab radio station Al Andalus in the town Jilib. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of Radio Andalus. The coordinates for the town Jilib are: 0.494527, 42.777868.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Unknown Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM149-C

Incident date

October 4, 2018

Location

Ceel Gadde, El Adde, Gedo, Somalia

Geolocation

3.035991, 41.867834 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

One woman and several children were wounded by an alleged US drone strike in El Adde town, Gedo, as up to ten al Shabaab members were targeted and killed, local media reported.

Somali media site Mareeg reported that a US drone strike had injured women and children. Anonymous sources said the victims had been been taken to hospital for medical treatment.

The strike was reported to have hit small residential areas near or within El Adde town in Somalia’s Gedo region, with Mareeg saying this caused the destruction of houses and shops. It also reported that a Somali military aligned radio station had said the strike had killed ten al Shabaab fighters including a senior al Shabaab commander.

Al Shabaab denied that their fighters had been targeted, reportedly releasing photos they said showed the area hit in the strike.

According to Hiiram, “SNA Radio, Somali military mouthpiece said the strike hit group’s militants, killing at least 10 militants including a senior Al-Shabaab commander.”

While the date of the strike was not clear, it was first reported on October 4th. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reached out to US Africa Command, the US military body responsible for activities in Somalia. It said that the last strike it had carried out was on October 1st. However, the CIA also conducted its own non-disclosable air campaign in Somalia at the time.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Aftermath of the alleged US drone strike in El Adde town, Gedo region, October 4th, 2018 (via Mareeg)
  • Aftermath of the alleged US drone strike in El Adde town, Gedo region, October 4th, 2018 (via Mareeg)
  • Aftermath of the alleged US drone strike in El Adde town, Gedo region, October 4th, 2018 (via Mareeg)
  • Aftermath of the alleged US drone strike in El Adde town, Gedo region, October 4th, 2018 (via Mareeg)
  • Aftermath of the alleged US drone strike in El Adde town, Gedo region, October 4th, 2018 (via Mareeg)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted houses and shops in the town of El Adde (or Ceel Gadde). The coordinates for the centre (likely the commercial area) of El Adde are: 3.035991, 41.867834. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Unknown Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM145-C

Incident date

September 19, 2018

Location

سااكوو, Saakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.637795, 42.452829 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

At least three children were killed as up to 12 al Shabaab members were targeted and killed by a night time airstrike, local and international media reported – though it was unclear who was behind the attack.

Several senior al Shabaab officials were killed or wounded in an airstrike, Somalia intelligence officials reportedly said. The intelligence officials said the strike hit both a training school and nearby general hospital in Saakow, in the Middle Juba region.

According to Xinhua: “Independent sources confirmed the attack on al-Shabab militants in Sakow town, saying at least three children were killed in a school. A resident in Sakow town told Xinhua by phone that the warplane dropped four shells into the center of the town near the Jubba River there. ‘I cannot tell you the number of casualties in the airstrike here because I did not get out of my home since this morning, but shells were four that created big fear,” said the resident who asked for anonymity.'”

Hassan Yaqub, a longtime al Shabaab commander, was reportedly targeted in the action. The Somali Deputy Information Minister Adam Isak Ali said that Yaqub had been injured. Twelve members of the group were also killed, he said.

Meanwhile, Al Shabab said three children were killed in what it described as a drone attack, while a local elder told Mareeg also said at least three children died in the strike, which was confirmed it said by witnesses who contacted local radio stations.

Associated Press reported that several young recruits were killed. This suggests that the youngsters may instead have been child soldiers.

It was not clear who had carried out the strike, AP reported. US Africa Command said it had not carried out a strike since September 11th. Kenya also carried out strikes in Somalia at this time, as did Ethiopia. A local news site reported it as a Kenya strike.However, Kenya was also not thought to have precision night time strike capabilities at this time.

A statement from the Somali deputy information minister said only that the action was conducted by “international partners”.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces, Ethiopian Military Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    12
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Bodies of two youths said to be students at a Qurani school at Saakow, killed in an airstrike by an unknown party on September 19th 2018 (Image via al Shabaab propaganda site)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a school and nearby hospital in the town of Saakow (سااكوو). Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to locate the school and hospital. The coordinates for the town of Saakow (سااكوو) are: 1.637795, 42.452829.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

Ethiopian Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces, Ethiopian Military Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    12
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM141-C

Incident date

August 20–26, 2018

Location

Basra, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.310968, 45.267909 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

An investigation by journalist Amanda Sperber identified a possible US airstrike near Basra around the time of Eid in August 2018, which allegedly killed between 10 and 12 members of the same family. Airwars has provided a relatively wide date range for this event, based on limited reporting.

The investigation, published by The Nation in March 2019, noted the following: “U.S. military officials maintain that no civilians have been killed in the airstrikes over the past 12 years, but Somalis say that is not the case.

Faduma Hassan Mohamed, who lived in Basra in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle state, told Foreign Policy that 10 of her relatives were killed in airstrikes during fighting between al-Shabab and government forces in August 2018. She fled to one of the about 1,000 displacement camps lining the outskirts of the capital.”

Separately, in July 2019 reporter Nick Turse obtained a declassified AFRICOM civilian casualty assessment document, which also noted this allegation. In this version, 12 civilians from the same family were alleged killed.

The AFRICOM assessment concluded that “Comparing the geographic location and timing of the alleged CIVCAS, the alleged strike did NOT align with previous offensive/ defensive airstrikes or reported ground operations that resulted in Troops in Contact.” The allegation was dismissed as ‘Not Credible.’

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (12)

  • Uncle of Faduma Hassan Mohamed Adult male killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 1 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 2 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 3 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 4 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 5 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 6 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 7 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 8 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 9 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 10 Age unknown killed
  • Unidentified relative of Faduma Hassan Mohamed 11

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 12
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the village Basra, for which the coordinates are: 2.310968, 45.267909. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    Basra
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 29, 2018
  • On 23 November 2018, USAFRICOM Public Affairs (AC PA) received an allegation of CIVCAS from Ms. Amanda Sperber (freelance western journalist) was told by a Somali woman currently located in an International Displaced Person's camp IVO Mogadishu. Through Ms. Sperber, "A woman claims that her uncle and 11 family members were killed in Basra sometime around Eid during fighting between Al Shabaab and government forces. She claims she saw something that came from the sky that killed her uncle." NOT/NOT CREDIBLE: Comparing the geographic location and timing of the alleged CIVCAS, the alleged strike did NOT align with previous offensive/ defensive airstrikes or reported ground operations that resulted in Troops in Contact.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 12
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]