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
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM273

Incident date

January 29, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

The chief spokesman of the Somali government, Ismael Mukhtar Omar, reported in a tweet that an al Shabaab compound in Jilib had been destroyed by a US airstrike. AFRICOM did not declare the strike at the time, though did later confirm the action on February 3rd/4th.

According to Omar’s initial tweet, “In the early morning of January 29th, The Federal Government of Somalia in coordination with and supported by the US Government, conducted an airstrike inside the al-Shabaab-controlled city of Jilib. One al-Shabaab occupied compound was destroyed in the strike.”

Omar also noted that “This week has seen a number of successful military operations in and around the al Shabaab stronghold of Jilib.”

Along with a declared US strike on the town on January 27th, this indicated additional joint Somali-US actions in the area around this time.

AFRICOM confirmed this on February 3rd, issuing a press release which noted that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a series of operations to disrupt al-Shabaab terrorists in various locations in southern Somalia, Jan. 23-29…

“As a result of these operations we currently assess that one (1) al-Shabaab terrorist was killed in the vicinity of Jilib and two (2) al-Shabaab compounds were destroyed; one in Jamaame and one in Jilib. Due to operational security and force protection considerations, it prevented issuing a press release immediately. ‘We assess these compounds were used by al-Shabaab militants to organize and plan violent terrorist actions against innocent Somali citizens,’ said Hadfield. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

Responding to a request for clarification on dates, an AFRICOM official told Airwars by email on February 4th that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab operations in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on Jan. 29.  As a result of this airstrike, we currently assess that one (1) al-Shabaab terrorist was killed and one (1) al-Shabaab compounds were destroyed.”

The incident occured between 12:01 am and 5:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • CBA TV: 'Air strike targets Alshabab occupied compound in southern Somalia'

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a series of operations to disrupt al-Shabaab terrorists in various locations in southern Somalia, Jan. 23-29.
"U.S. forces, working in partnership with the FGS, continue to limit al-Shabaab's ability to hold territory seized from the legitimate government of Somalia and use it as a safe space for plotting terrorist attacks," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence. "Operations to disrupt al-Shabaab are needed to deny their ability to expand terrorism outside of Somalia as we've recently seen in Kenya."
As a result of these operations we currently assess that one (1) al-Shabaab terrorist was killed in the vicinity of Jilib and two (2) al-Shabaab compounds were destroyed; one in Jamaame and one in Jilib. Due to operational security and force protection considerations, it prevented issuing a press release immediately.
"We assess these compounds were used by al-Shabaab militants to organize and plan violent terrorist actions against innocent Somali citizens," said Hadfield.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes. We continue to take significant measures to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations to ensure the safety of civilians.
Somalia remains key to the security environment of East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing U.S. interests in the region. U.S. actions are synchronized with the African Union Mission in Somalia's (AMISOM) mandate to reduce threats and support stabilization, reconciliation, and peacebuilding.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (6) [ collapse]