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
Weak
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

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

One civilian woman was reported injured by a US airstrike near Kunya Barrow.

Halgan Media said: “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 Seynab 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 where 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.

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 incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • 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 (8) [ 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
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab 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
    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 (8) [ 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 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 SomaliMemo – 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.

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 (11) [ 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
    Not yet assessed

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 (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM232-C

Incident date

June 5, 2019

Location

Outskirts of Tortoroow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.25045, 44.69117 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

The US military carried out an airstrike targeting an al Shabaab fighter in Tortoroow, according to a press release issued two days later by US Africa Command. It was locally alleged that a named civilian public transport driver died in the attack.

According to the statement: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Tortoroow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019. Precision airstrikes such as this one are part of our partnered strategy with the Federal Government of Somalia to transition the security in the country to a Somali-led force. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike killed one (1) militant.”

AFRICOM also said that it currently assessed no civilians had been harmed in the action. However, three days after the event, pro-al Shabaab site SomaliMemo claimed that one civilian taxi driver had been killed.

In an article published June 8th, SomaliMemo asserted: “More news comes from a drone strike a few nights ago in an attack on civilians in the Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia. Reports from the outskirts of Tooratoroow indicate that US air forces have bombed a residential house and civilians in Lower Shabelle. One of the civilians killed in the shooting was popular in Tooratoroow district, the late Ibrahim Abdi Gaab Osman, a public transport agent.

“Eyewitnesses confirmed that two rockets hit the teacher Ibrahim at his home but that thankfully the rest of his family survived. But there was damage to a motorcycle and other items at the compound.  ‘US planes bombed Ibrahim Abdi Gaab Osman, a prominent man in Tooratoroow district, at his home. He was bombed and was a public transport driver known to everyone,’ a local resident told reporters.”

In summer 2019, US investigative reporter Nick Turse obtained a FOIA response from AFRICOM detailing recent civilian harm assessments. The final entry read: “[Redacted source] alleged that an airstrike killed one civilian. IVO Tortoroow. Outcome: PENDING”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Ibrahim Abdi Gaab Osman Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • 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
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • 'US slaughters civilian casualties in Lower Shabelle region #Somalia'

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Tortoroow, for which the coordinates are: 2.25045, 44.69117. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. airstrike targets al-Shabaab in support of the Federal Government of Somalia
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Tortoroow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019.

By U.S. AFRICA COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, United States Africa CommandStuttgart, GermanyJun 07, 2019

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Tortoroow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019.

Precision airstrikes such as this one are part of our partnered strategy with the Federal Government of Somalia to transition the security in the country to a Somali-led force.
At this time, it is assessed the airstrike killed one (1) militant.

Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike. Our process and procedures allow for additional information to inform post-strike analysis.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM 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, AMISOM, and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • 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
    1

Sources (5) [ 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.

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.”

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 (4) [ 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
    Not yet assessed

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 (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM198-C

Incident date

February 23, 2019

Location

Qoryoley near Janaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.788087, 44.529002 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

An adult woman was reported killed by an alleged US attack on Qoryole, according to the Turkish news organisation TRT, an event it dated to before midnight on February 23rd 2019.

A sequence of US airstrikes on the night of February 23rd had led to several claims of civilian harm. Four strikes took place in different locations in the Lower Shabelle region, AFRICOM later confirmed – with an attack at Kunyo Barrow town also reportedly killing a father and child that night.

While the US did not report a strike on Qoryoley itself that night, it did declare an action in the vicinity of nearby Janaale.

In an investigation into civilian harm in Somalia from recent US actions, published in September 2019, TRT World Research Centre stated the following:

“In the middle of the night on 23 February 2019, the US military conducted an air strike in the town of Qoryoley in the Shabeelaha Hoose (Lower Shabelle) region. The attack took place just before midnight. ‘It was just before midnight, about 11:00 pm. We heard
the diyaarad [drones] coming. At first, we ran towards the bushes to hide from the attack but my sister was killed by the strike. We returned back, and found her
body. We managed to bury her the next morning, and we left the area. My sister was newly married and a young woman with a promising future in a good family.

‘We lost our property, belongings and animals [farm livestock]. Now, we are displaced people inside our own country. I’m not sure who to blame for the killings, but I can say
that the attack was conducted by a Diyaarad – maybe it was the US or Somali government. They did not discriminate between civilians and combatants. There were no Al-Shabaab or militia near us. All those killed or injured were not fighters. The attackers were looking for Al Shabaab, but they did not discriminate civilians from the combatants. To my knowledge, there were no Al Shabaab near to us. However, we heard rumors that Al Shabaab were hiding in the bushes, which is not far. Everyone in the area were civilians.'”

“In an email exchange with AFRICOM, they replied: “All U.S. Africa Command airstrikes conducted in February 2019 are detailed, with locations, on our public website – please see our press release section.” AFRICOM published a press release on 24 February regarding two airstrikes executed on 23 February in the “vicinity of Kunyow Barrow”. However, according to testimony documented by TRT World Research Centre, the strikes took place in Qoryoley which is some 167.08 kilometers from the vicinity of Kunyow Barrow as put forward by AFRICOM.

“A local media station, Gundhig reported in the morning of the attack on 24 February that the “air strike, which happened at midnight last night, targeted al-Shabaab operated areas, including Kuunya Barrow, Awdheegle, and the Dacaaraha village, which is near to Qoryoley and Janaale.”

“TRT World Research Centre’s investigative research finds evidence contradicting AFRICOM’s publically [sic] reported strikes. The above interview establishes that there was one confirmed civilian killed, with the full extent of the civilian casualties unknown. The fact that one civilian was killed by a lethal strike suggests that a strike took place, in addition to on-the-ground witness testimony. AFRICOM needs to come clean over the mission conducted in this case, and undergo an independent and impartial investigation to assess civilian casualties. If there was more than one attack, it should ensure full transparency by providing public information on all of them.”

The incident occured at approximately 11:00 pm local time.

  • Sadia Adult female killed

Summary

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

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that several strikes targeted Al Shabaab operated areas: Kunya Barrow (0.7928186, 43.3841839), Awdheegle (1.977202, 44.833162) and Dacaraha (1.55556, 44.13643), and Qoryoley (1.788087, 44.529002). The attack in the town Qoryoley allegedly caused the killing of a civilian woman. 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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia's increased efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted four airstrikes on February 23, 2019.

"Somali-led operations continue to place pressure on the al-Shabaab network, creating conditions for enhanced stability and security," said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. "In addition to creating enhanced security, airstrikes help to disrupt al-Shabaab operations and the network while preventing future attacks by this terrorist group."

Two airstrikes on February 23 occurred in the vicinity of Kunyow Barrow, Somalia, which is approximately 250 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu. One airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Awdeegle, Somalia, which is approximately 50 kilometers west of Mogadishu. One airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia, which is approximately 75 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu.

Airstrikes such as these complement our Somali partners’ successes against al-Shabaab, and are one component of our combined efforts to protect the Somali people from terrorism. Somali security forces continue to effectively target al-Shabaab forces in order to increase the span of governance of the Federal Government of Somalia.

These four airstrikes eliminated checkpoints and facilities used by al-Shabaab to collect illegal taxes to fund terrorist activities and to oppress the innocent people of Somalia.

"Degrading various facilities and checkpoints impacts al-Shabaab’s ability to finance operations, recruit, and execute operations," said Olson. "The Federal Government of Somalia continues to place persistent pressure on the network."

At this time, it is assessed these airstrikes killed two terrorists.

At this time, it is assessed no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM 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 counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

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

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM194-C

Incident date

February 11, 2019

Location

Tuwaareey, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.89512, 44.76052 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

US Africa Command reported that two days earlier, it had carried out two airstrikes in the vicinity of Janaale in the lower Shabelle region. AFRICOM stated that “the first airstrike on February 11 had killed eight militants and the second airstrike killed four militants” with a total of 12 killed.

AFRICOM added that “at this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in either airstrike.” However, in the second event – which locals placed at the village of Tuwaareey – up to 13 civilians were locally reported killed.

Mareeg reported on February 12th for example that according to Al-Shabaab, several civilian homes had been razed by the airstrikes and suggesting that civilian harm could have occurred, though no civilian casualties were known to have been reported at the time by the terror group.

In September 2019, TRT World Research Centre alleged that up to 13 civilians were killed in what was described as a joint air and ground operation.

“On 11 February, Fatima, a 48 year old mother of 10, witnessed a US drone strike, which destroyed her home and property in the vicinity of Tuwaareey, a farming vicinity near Jannaale in the southeastern Lower Shebelle region of Somalia. Fatima was preparing breakfast on a Monday morning when airstrikes struck her village. TRT World Research Centre documented the following testimony:

‘I was at home and preparing breakfast for my children at 7:00 am on a Monday morning. The attack caused huge damage to the area.’ At the time of speaking with Fatima, the witness said ‘my daughter and her two kids are still missing since that day. I do not know if they are alive or not. My daughter was living in the small village next to mine, which are both in the same vicinity. My farmland was destroyed, including
my harvested grain’. At the time of investigating the incident for this report, it was not possible to verify what happened to Fatima’s daughter or two grandchildren.

Fatima told TRT World Research Centre that she fled the village following the attack, and traveled to an IDP camp. In a separate interview in June 201921, Fatima reiterated
that she is still not in touch with her daughter and two grandchildren. It is possible that they may have been killed in the attack or fled the area to a different IDP camp. Fatima estimated that some 10 civilians were killed in the airstrikes – among them were Fatima’s younger sister and two of her cousins (one male and one female).

‘The strikes took place in Tuuwaarreey village, near to Jannaale town. There were no Al Shabaab around us people – farmers. The attack was conducted with a ‘Diyaarad’
(plane) and the civilians were being targeted. There was an Al Shabaab base nearby to our village, but they were not present at the time of the attack’, Fatima continued…

A local news media outlet, Goobjoog News, reported a lethal activity in the vicinity of Janaale in the Lower Shabelle region on the 11 February 2019. ‘The attack took place at midnight as Somali army officials confirmed to us. The report added that military planes first conducted airstrikes on an Al Shabaab base, followed by a direct gun-fight between Al Shabaab fighters and Somali soldiers who landed after the strike.’ In addition, the report states “[t]here is no confirmation of the casualties caused by this strike, but the Somali army and the U.S. soldiers have been recently launching operations against Al Shabaab.’

“TRT World Research Centre’s investigation finds evidence contrary to that of AFRICOM’s assessment that no civilians were killed in the strike. The testimony
of Fatima presents that a possible 13 civilians were killed based on testimony. Based on the interview documented for this incident, the US may have failed in taking adequate precautions to avoid any civilian casualties while pursuing Al-Shabaab. There was a lack of precision in targeting, notably in a location that is not declared a battlefield. It is likely that if the US had not executed this lethal action, the civilians would not have been affected. Under international law, indiscriminate attacks or injury to non-combatants may equate to war crimes. Thus, the US government and relevant departments must ensure an independent and impartial investigation is conducted on this lethal action.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by US reporter Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM gave the location of the strike as being in the vicinity of Janalle, and said the targets had been al Shabaab fighters.

The incident occured at approximately 7:00 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (6)

  • Sister of Fatima Adult female killed
  • Cousin of Fatima Adult female killed
  • Cousin of Fatima Adult male killed
  • Daughter of Fatima female Missing presumed dead killed
  • Granddaughter of Fatima Child female Missing presumed dead killed
  • Grandchild of Fatima Child Missing presumed dead killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 13
  • (0–2 children2 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • 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
    4–12

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted civilian homes in the vicinity of the village Tuwaareey (or Tuaarey), close to the town Janaale. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location of the strike. The coordinates for the village Tuwaareey are: 1.89512, 44.76052.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia's consistent efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Janaale, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 11, 2019.

Precision airstrikes support Somali partners’ ongoing efforts to reduce al-Shabaab safe havens, degrade the terrorists’ infrastructure, and destroy terrorist equipment. Airstrikes complement our Somali partners’ successes against al-Shabaab, and are one component of our combined effort to protect the Somali people from terrorism.

“Our security partners are actively executing operations in Somalia to increase the span of governance of the Federal Government of Somalia,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. “Somali security forces are effectively targeting al-Shabaab forces to create space for governance and development in Somalia.”

The airstrikes on February 11 were executed as Somali forces were leading an operation in an area where al-Shabaab conducts terrorist activities, as well as exploits the local populace for illegal taxes. Somali-led operations like this are vital to maintaining pressure on the terrorist network.

U.S. Africa Command currently assesses the first airstrike on February 11 killed eight militants and the second airstrike killed four militants.

At this time, it is assessed no civilians were injured or killed in either airstrike.

We will continue to work with our partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people from terrorists.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 13
  • (0–2 children2 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • 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
    4–12

Sources (7) [ 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
    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]