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
Weak
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM327-C

Incident date

January 1, 2021

Location

Kunya Barrow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were allegedly wounded in two US airstrikes on Kunya Barrow.

Radio Al Furqaan, the Al Shabaab-affiliated radio station bombed in the incident, said: “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 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.

The first strike and casualty toll are reflected in USSOM326-C.

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
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (12) [ 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)

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

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
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM319-C

Incident date

September 20, 2020

Location

Moyiloow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

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

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

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

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

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

In the following report AFRICOM said the allegation was unsubstantiated: “After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. U.S. forces were not directly involved in this operation and no U.S. military strike took place at the time and place reported. Partner force reporting and sensitive intelligence confirmed that no civilians were killed in the operation. The source of the report is a known al-Shabaab propaganda outlet that falsely stated that the partner force destroyed a mosque during the operation. U.S. Africa Command performed a careful assessment of the area after the operation and confirmed that a mosque was not destroyed in the operation.”

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Moyiloow, alternatively spelled Moyanow, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.18433, 44.65022. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

  • (Unsubstantiated) On Sept. 21, 2020, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source stating eight (8) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali and U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia on Sept. 21, 2020. After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. U.S. forces were not directly involved in this operation and no U.S. military strike took place at the time and place reported. Partner force reporting and sensitive intelligence confirmed that no civilians were killed in the operation. The source of the report is a known al-Shabaab propaganda outlet that falsely stated that the partner force destroyed a mosque during the operation. U.S. Africa Command performed a careful assessment of the area after the operation and confirmed that a mosque was not destroyed in the operation.

Summary

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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM299-C

Incident date

March 27, 2020

Location

near Buulo Fuulay, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were killed in a US strike near Buulo Fuulay, according to a pro Al Shabaab outlet.

Somali Memo wrote: “More details about the bombings of US warplanes hit the Bay region in southern Somalia on Wednesday night.

Drones bombed a scooter with two civilians Saturday night, the killed were forced out of Buhodle district and headed towards Dodala village, about 30 km from Fula.

Residents said the victims were Abdi Fatah Abdirahman Adan and Adow Elmi Kiraro, relatives of the slain men who spoke to the media about the incident and denied false claims that they had been killed by militants.

The United States is dropping drone strikes on the Somali people while hiding itself in a war on so-called terrorists.”

AFRICOM, however, claimed: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Buulo Fuulay, Somalia, Mar. 27.

The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed two (2) terrorists.

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

Halgan Media said that Al Shabaab had announced to publish pictures of the victim. Airwars will add these in case they are published.

AFRICOM later deemed the claims of civilian harm as unsubstantiated in its quarterly civilian casuatly assessment report: “On March 27, 2020 an airstrike was executed on two individuals which U.S. intelligence confirmed were al-Shabaab members. The airstrike was executed after the two fighters departed a known al-Shabaab compound on a motorbike. The strike was conducted in a remote area where the effects were confirmed to be limited to the individuals. 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 in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Buulo Fuulay village, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.11064, 43.52329. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • 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
  • March 28, 2020, (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming two (2) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Buulo Fulaay, Somalia, on March 27, 2020. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. On March 27, 2020 an airstrike was executed on two individuals which U.S. intelligence confirmed were al-Shabaab members. The airstrike was executed after the two fighters departed a known al-Shabaab compound on a motorbike. The strike was conducted in a remote area where the effects were confirmed to be limited to the individuals. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM287-C

Incident date

March 5, 2020

Location

حرمك, Near Kunya Barrow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.7928186, 43.3841839 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Two civilians including a named woman were reported injured by a US airstrike near Kunya Barrow.

Halgan Media noted: “A pro militant mouthpiece dubbed Somali Memo claimed a mother of 5 children was wounded in the drone strike, when reigned down on there home overnight. According to Somali Memo, the victim has been identified as Zeynab Abubakar and is currently recuperating at a makeshift medical clinic in the town of Kuunyo Barrow.

The Halgan Media service desk reached out to local contacts in the Lower Shabelle province but were unable to confirm nor deny claims made by Al Shabaab and US AFRICOM. The town of Kunyo Barrow is under Al Shabaab rule, making it impossible for outsiders to access.”

Somali Memo indeed reported that a family home was hit injuring one woman. However, it in turn cited Radio Alfurqaan as a source. It had noted: “Two missiles hit the home of a family in Kuunyo Barrow, injuring a mother there. The mother, who has five children, was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Fortunately there were no casualties among the children but they were near to the missile strikes. Zeynab Abukar was injured in her leg, according to other mothers who visited her. Another young person who works in the tailoring business was also injured in the shelling.”

AFRICOM officially declared conducting the strike, saying no civilians were harmed: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab terrorist in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Mar. 5. The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow (حرمك), for which, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The coordinates for Kunya Barrow are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839

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

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 Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Mar. 5.
“Al-Shabaab’s leadership recently reiterated its primary focus of attacking American and Western targets beyond Somalia’s borders. Al-Shabaab remains fully committed to exporting violence,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “We support the international security assistance model in Somalia. Our support, coupled with other international partners, restricts that ambition as the Somali forces continue to grow in capability.”
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. By virtue of our capabilities, influence, and credibility, the U.S. is uniquely postured to support Somali efforts, including helping coordinate 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.
The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM283-C

Incident date

February 28, 2020

Location

حرمك, Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

0.7928186, 43.3841839 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Two airstrikes were declared the same day by US Africa Command, in partnership with the Somali government, which were said to have targeted al Shabaab in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow.

According to two pro Shabaab sources, at least one of the strikes targeted Kunya Barrow itself – alleging that a 70 year old woman and a child were injured. It was also claimed that a drone had crashed on the town.

According to the AFRICOM press release, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28… Initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

According to Somaliweyn, “At least two people have been killed and two others injured in [airstrikes] in the central Somali town of Kunyo Barrow on Monday.” Radio Kulmiye said four were killed and three injured – though made no mention of the combatant status of the casualties.

However according to Morad News and Somali Memo – both news sites viewed as pro-Shabaab – two civilians were injured. Morad asserted that “Suspected #US drone strike reported in Kunya-Barow town in #Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. Two civilians, elderly woman and child wounded, taken to a local clinic – Witnesses Say”.

And Somali Memo claimed that “This afternoon, a drone crashed into a suburb of Kuunya Barroow, about 90 kilometers off the coast of Barawe. A journalist in the Lower Shabelle region said the shelling injured a 70-year-old woman and a minor. Witnesses said the victims were taken to a local hospital for treatment.”

The claims came at a time when al Shabaab was attempting to promote claims of high and indiscriminate civilian harm from US actions.

SONNA state media said the two strikes had targeted senior al Shabaab operatives, while according to the Somali Ministry of Information, an early afternoon strike near Kunya Barrow “killed two AS militants while also destroying one vehicle.” This may therefore represent the second event declared by AFRICOM.

According to the third and fourth quarterly civilian casualty assessment, the incident is currently under review from AFRICOM. In the following report it said the investigation was ongoing.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • 'US bombardment of civilians again in the south #Somalia'
  • 'Heavy shelling in Lower Shabelle region '
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the village of Kunya Barrow (حرمك), for which the coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Under investigation
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • Aug 28, 2020
  • February 28, 2020, USAFRICOM received three allegations from an online media source and social media accounts claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on February 28, 2020.

  • Feb. 28, 2020, USAFRICOM received three (3) reports from an online media source and social media accounts claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Feb. 28, 2020. USAFRICOM’s assessment is ongoing.

  • Feb. 28, 2020, U.S. Africa Command received three (3) reports from an online media source and social media accounts claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Feb. 28, 2020. U.S. Africa Command’s assessment of these reports is ongoing.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28.
“The support the U.S. provides to our partners in our cooperative efforts to enhance security throughout Africa is unmatched by our competitors and is vital to not only East African security but to protecting the America forces on the continent and abroad,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of intelligence.
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 these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM222a-C

Incident date

May 9–10, 2019

Location

Farsooley, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.08436, 44.54515 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

“Multiple civilians” were alleged killed in a claimed US airstrike on Farsooley, according to reports which appeared to have originated with al Shabaab. AFRICOM publicly rejected the claim a year later.

Hussein Mohamed, a local journalist stringing for the New York Times and others, tweeted on May 10th that “Al Shabab media reported that US airstrikes kill multiple civilians in Farsooley town in Lower Shabelle region. No word from @USAfricaCommand yet.”

The source for that claim was SomaliMemo, a pro al Shabaab media site, which first referenced a possible event in an early morning tweet on May 10th.

A SomaliMemo article published later that day asserted the following [translated from Somali]: “US drone strikes have killed at least 13 people and injured at least three people in the area. Reports from the area of ​​Farsooley under the control of Qoryooley district say that American planes bombed parts of the area last night. At least 3 civilians have been injured in US drone strikes in Farsooley. In addition, US-trained Bancroft troops entered the area in Farsooley, committing acts of insecurity. Three farmers have been confirmed to have been escorted away by Bancroft forces, with their whereabouts until now unknown.”

A tweet by Somalia’s national intelligence agency NISA made clear that there were military actions on the town on May 10th, though made no mention of US participation: “A security operation in the village of Farsooley has captured AS militants. The operation contributes to the liberation of the hard-hit people of Farsooley village. Security forces will continue operations against al-Shabaab members. # NISA”.

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 fifth entry notes for the date May 10th 2019 that “[redacted source] alleged that a U.S. airstrike injured three civilians in Farsooley, Somalia… Outcome PENDING.”

In April 2020, in its first quarterly civilian harm report, AFRICOM rejected the allegation: “May 10, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Farsooley, Somalia, on May 9, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.”

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • 'US drone strike on civilians in Lower Shabelle region #Somalia'

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the area of Farsooley village, for which the coordinates are: 2.08436, 44.54515

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
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • May 10, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Farsooley, Somalia, on May 9, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM153-C

Incident date

October 18, 2019

Location

Bulo Haji, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.63201, 41.984138 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

In an alleged civilian harm event previously unrecorded by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a declassified AFRICOM report obtained in Spring 2019 identified a claimed event near Kismayo in October 2018.

According to Casimada, “The strike against Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab group was conducted in Bulo-Haji area near the town, killing at least 3 children, a witness, who asked to be anonymous, said. He says a victim was taken into hospital.”

According to the civilian casualty assessment for the event, obtained by US investigative reporter Nick Turse, “Casimada Online released an article alleging that 3 children were killed and 1 was injured in the airstrike on 18 October 2018. The article goes on to state that the injured individual was taken to the hospital. The article does not directly accuse the U.S. of conducting the strike but the implication is clear, ‘It is unclear, who carried out the airstrike in the south of Somalia, but U.S. military often carries out drone strike against Al- Shabaab in south and central Somalia.'”

The assessment concluded that “Comparing the geographic location and timing of the of the alleged CIVCAS incident to the past missions, the alleged strike did not align with previous offensive or defensive strikes. Additionally, there were no reported munitions released on the day in question (18 October 2018).”

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
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the incident took place in the vicinity of the village Bulo Haji, near the city of Kismayo. The coordinates for Bulo Haji are: -0.63201, 41.984138. 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 / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    IVO Kismayo
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Oct 23, 2018
  • Casimada Online released an article alleging that 3 children were killed and 1 was injured in the airstrike on 18 October 2018. The article goes on to state that the injured individual was taken to the hospital. The article does not directly accuse the U.S. of conducting the strike but the implication is clear, "It is unclear, who carried out the airstrike in the south of Somalia, but U.S. military often carries out drone strike against Al- Shabaab in south and central Somalia. NOT/NOT CREDIBLE: Comparing the geographic location and timing of the of the alleged CIVCAS incident to the past missions, the alleged strike did not align with previous offensive or defensive strikes. Additionally, there were no reported munitions released on the day in question (18 October 2018).

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM135-C

Incident date

July 22–27, 2018

Location

Marka, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.716269, 44.769753 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

A strike reportedly hit a village outside Marka, a city around 60 miles south of Mogadishu, according to a field investigation by a reporter for The Nation. There were no reports of immediate civilian harm, though a man reportedly died of a heart attack following the violence.

Airwars has placed this event in a date range from July 22nd-27th 2019, reflecting limits to current reporting.

Khadija Hassan Ali, a mother of three, spoke to the reporter Amanda Sperber: “Ali said that her husband, Abdullahi Sheikh Hassan, died in late July from what she believes was a heart attack after night-time strikes hit her village amid fighting between Al Shabab and government-led militias. She is certain of the timing because, in Somali culture, a wife formally mourns for four months and 10 days after the death of her husband, so she had the dates in mind when I talked with her in late November.”

The only strike that US Africa Command claim to have conducted in late July was around 50 kilometres north of Kismayo on July 23rd – which Airwars has recorded separately. However as Sperber notes, Kismayo is over 400km away from Marka.

According to the article, an international human rights organisation additionally leaked a document to the reporter that indicated a strike occurred on July 25th in Qalimow, but this is about 95 miles away from Ali’s home. This event also has its own entry.

The US was thought to be the only country conducting airstrikes in this region of Somalia at the time. Sperber suggests that the strike may not match AFRICOM’s records because it could potentially be a CIA strike.

The incident occured during the night.

  • Abdullahi Sheikh Hassan Age unknown male Died of a heart attack following reported "night time strikes hit [the] village amid fighting between al Shabaab and government-led militias." killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in a strike outside of the city Marka. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to locate the precise location of the strike. The coordinates for the city of Marka are: 1.716269, 44.769753.

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
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]