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
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM095-C

Incident date

October 16, 2017

Location

Farah Waeys, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.9922, 44.861 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike near Bariire on October 16th was confirmed by the US military. However, numerous allegations of civilian harm by international media have been denied.

Whilst US Africa Command did not initially publish a press release regarding this strike, they confirmed to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at the time that they carried out a strike against al Shabaab at 16:30 local time. A spokesperson said the operation occurred in southern Somalia, about 35 miles southwest of Mogadishu.

The Guardian published an article in January 2018 detailing recent strikes in Somalia that had seen allegations of civilian casualties. One took place on an unspecified day in October. US officials had confirmed a single strike 35 miles southwest of Mogadishu. Local sources told the Guardian that eight civilians in the village of Awdhegle had been injured. An elder from the village said said that three women, a child and four men were transported to a hospital in Mogadishu after their house was hit.“They were herders and farmers, not al-Shabaab ,” the elder said. A doctor at the hospital told the Guardian two men and a woman injured in an airstrike between Awdhegle and Barire were treated.

In March 2019, Amnesty International published a major report on civilian harm in Somalia that detailed this incident. Their report claimed that a US armed drone twice targeted a suspected al Shabaab vehicle travelling between Awdheegle and Bariire – two al Shabaab controlled towns. The attacks reportedly killed two nearby civilians and injured five others, including two children, alongside an unknown number of al Shaabab fighters.

Amnesty spoke to eyewitnesses who told them that the first strike missed the vehicle and struck the eastern bank of the road next to some makeshift homes in a settlement. This strike allegedly killed Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Yusuf Hussein, a 25 year old farmer. A second munition was then fired that struck the vehicle as it was continuing to the north of the settlement.

Bashir, who fled the attack, told Amnesty that he returned to find Sheikh Ahmed dying in his home – just 20 steps away from where the munition had struck – as shrapnel had gone right through him.

Amnesty also named Siidow Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan, a 40 year old farmer as being fatally injured in the attack – he was reportedly taken to Sudan for further treatment before he died a few days later.

A further five civilians were injured in the drone strike, including the eight year old son of Siidow, Mohamed Siidow Abdullahi, and a six year old boy named Khalif Adow Osman.

The NGO added that “According to records obtained by Amnesty International, a total of 12 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and two GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II laser-guided bombs were dropped by the US Air Force in Somalia on this day. Those weapons were fired from MQ-9 Reaper drones, based in Djibouti. Two Hellfire missiles were most likely used in this attack, based on the types and extent of damage and injuries, and that a munition with a powered rocket-motor is more-often used to strike a moving vehicle.”

US Africa Command denied that any civilians were harmed in response to Amnesty’s allegations:

“AFRICOM conducted a precision-guided strike that corresponds to the time and location alleged, targeting a vehicle containing al-Shabaab fighters. Social media posts alleged CIVCAS shortly after the event. AFRICOM conducted a CIVCAS allegation assessment regarding this strike and determined it is not likely to have caused the civilian casualties. Information gathered before and after the strike indicated that all individuals injured or killed were members or affiliates of al-Shabaab.”

It said it still assessed that the strike resulted in “three enemy wounded in action and one vehicle destroyed”.

Responding to the AFRICOM statements, Amnesty noted: “The fact that the vehicle and those in it were the apparent targets would support the assertions that those killed or injured beside the road were civilians uninvolved in the conflict. The burden is on the US military to explain why they do not count these individuals, including children, who were not the intended targets but nevertheless were killed and injured, as civilian casualties.

Amnesty International’s evidence above establishes that contrary to AFRICOM’s assessment, civilians were killed during the attack in Farah Waeys. The evidence also suggests that the US failed to take necessary precautions to ensure that their objective – which in this case appears have been a truck of Al-Shabaab members – was targeted at the appropriate time and with sufficient precision to minimize the likelihood of damage to civilians and civilian objects. Since the targeted vehicle was travelling along the road between Awdheegle and Barire and the vast majority of the area adjacent to the road that runs between the two towns is uninhabited, this raises questions as to why the US military attacked when civilians were in the immediate vicinity, when it appears to have had opportunities to do so in locations where no civilians would be at risk. If feasible precautions were taken civilians may have been spared.

“Given the glaring failure to take feasible precautions to spare civilians, the attack may have been indiscriminate and the fatalities and injuries, and damage caused, unlawful. Indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians can constitute war crimes. The US authorities should ensure an independent, impartial investigation is conducted into this attack.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM said it had struck what it says were al Shabaab fighters, in the vicinity of Mubaraak.

The incident occured at 4:30 pm local time.

  • Siidow Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan 40 years old male killed
  • Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Yusuf Hussein 25 years old male killed
  • Mohamed Siidow Abdullahi 8 years old male injured
  • Khalif Adow Osman 6 years old male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–8
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Cartoonist Mike Dawson featured the October 16th event in a graphic novella for Amnesty International
  • Cartoonist Mike Dawson featured the October 16th event in a graphic novella for Amnesty International
  • Cartoonist Mike Dawson featured the October 16th event in a graphic novella for Amnesty International
  • Cartoonist Mike Dawson featured the October 16th event in a graphic novella for Amnesty International

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a vehicle between Awdheegle and Bariire. According to Amnesty research the coordinates for the location of the strike are: 1.9922, 44.861, in the village Farah Waeys.

  • Geolocational imagery released by Amnesty, March 2019

    Imagery:
    Amnesty International

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 1, 2018
  • AFRICOM conducted a precision-guided strike that corresponds to the time and location alleged, targeting a vehicle containing al-Shabaab fighters. Social media posts alleged CIVCAS shortly after the event. AFRICOM conducted a CIVCAS allegation assessment regarding this strike and determined it is not likely to have caused the civilian casualties. Information gathered before and after the strike indicated that all individuals injured or killed were members or affiliates of al-Shabaab.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Via email:
"(...) in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Somalia against al-Shabaab on Mon., Oct. 16 at approximately 4:30 p.m. local Somalia time.

We are currently assessing the results of the strike.

The operation occurred in southern Somalia, about 35 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–8
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (10) [ 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

USSOM312-C

Incident date

July 29, 2020

Location

جيليب, 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 US military reported on the same day that it had conducted an airstrike against al Shabaab fighters in the town of Jilib. However it was locally claimed that the attack had killed three young children, whose bodies were shown on social media.

In a press release published on the evening of the attack, AFRICOM noted: “The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist and wounded one (1) terrorist. An al-Shabaab compound was destroyed in the airstrike.”

The release also noted that “U.S. Africa Command is aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this airstrike. At this time, U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

However al Shabaab released images which it said were taken at the scene of the US strike, showing the bodies of three young boys and a destroyed structure. Morad news named the dead as Abukar Ahmad, 8 years old; Abdisamad Hussain, aged 12; and Abdullahi Mohamad, aged 13.

AllBalcad said: “The bombing, which took place at around 2pm, featured pro-al-Shabaab media showing the bodies of three children and the destruction of a house. The children were said to be between the ages of 8 and 13 and Alshabab did not say who else was injured in the bombing.”

Mareeg reported: “But the strike has killed at least 3 children under the age of 13, and destroyed their wooden house in the town.

The children were playing outside their home when they were struck by a heavy metal fragment from the munition and then, all died on scene, a witness, who asked to be anonymous said.”

Halgan Media and other sources said it was a drone strike.

In it fourth quarter civilian casualty assessment AFRIOM said: “After review, the reports were assessed as unsubstantiated. Contrary to the reports stating the airstrike targeted a residence killing three children, the airstrike was executed on July 29, 2020 against two al-Shabaab members on a known al-Shabaab compound used as a senior al-Shabaab leadership meeting place. U.S. intelligence confirmed that the compound was only accessible to al-Shabaab members, and the casualties of the strike were al-Shabaab members. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action. One source also used one photo that was previously published in 2015.”

Airwars found that one picture used by Goobjoog had indeed been used before.

The incident occured at approximately 2:00 pm local time.

  • Abukar Ahmad 8 years old male killed
  • Abdisamad Hussain 12 years old male killed
  • Abdullahi Mohamad 13 years old male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in East Africa
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (19) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (13) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • 'The United States says a bombing in Jilib has killed a number of al-Shabab members, wounded others and destroyed a military base. Al Shabaab has denied the allegations, saying three children were killed in the shelling. Expect their names.'
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Picture of alleged victim of US airstrike on Jilib on July 29h, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Picture of alleged victim of US airstrike on Jilib on July 29h, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Picture of alleged victim of US airstrike on Jilib on July 29h, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Picture of alleged victim of US airstrike on Jilib on July 29h, 2020 (via Hon Siciid Ibnu dhakhtar)
  • Aftermath of alleged US airstrike on Jilib on July 29h, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Aftermath of alleged US airstrike on Jilib on July 29h, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Aftermath of alleged US airstrike on Jilib on July 29h, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jilib, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.494527, 42.777868. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • July 29, 2020 (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received three (3) reports from online media sources and a social media account claiming up to three (3) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on July 29, 2020. After review, the reports were assessed as unsubstantiated. Contrary to the reports stating the airstrike targeted a residence killing three children, the airstrike was executed on July 29, 2020 against two al-Shabaab members on a known al-Shabaab compound used as a senior al-Shabaab leadership meeting place. U.S. intelligence confirmed that the compound was only accessible to al-Shabaab members, and the casualties of the strike were al-Shabaab members. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action. One source also used one photo that was previously published in 2015.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, July 29.

“U.S. Africa Command continues to assist the Federal Government of Somalia in disrupting al-Shabaab plans for destruction,” said U.S. Air Force Col Chris Karns, director of public affairs, AFRICOM. “We remain committed to supporting our partners in our mutual fight against violent extremism.”

The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist and wounded one (1) terrorist. An al-Shabaab compound was destroyed in the airstrike.

U.S. Africa Command is aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this airstrike. At this time, U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

As with any allegation of civilian casualties we receive, U.S. Africa Command reviews reasonably available information it has about the incident. U.S. Africa Command complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions to minimize risk to civilians.

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use a range of effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people. Together with partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development while preventing al-Shabaab's desire to expand their reach and further export violence.

U.S. Africa Command continues to work with its Somali partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in East Africa
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (19) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM237-C

Incident date

July 3, 2019

Location

Iskushuban or Mareero, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

According to a local source, heavy fighting near the port of Bari in Puntland killed two people and injured five others, including civilians. AFRICOM later declared that “no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.”

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

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

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

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

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

However in April 2020 US Africa Command explicitly denied responsibility, noting: “January 21, 2020, AFRICOM received a report from a foreign non-government organization claiming two (2) civilians were killed and five (5) injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Iskashubun, Somalia, on July 3, 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 local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–5

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

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

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

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    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
  • January 21, 2020, AFRICOM received a report from a foreign non-government organization claiming two (2) civilians were killed and five (5) injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Iskashubun, Somalia, on July 3, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.

Original strike reports

Unknown
  • English
    /
    Original

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–5

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM099-C

Incident date

November 10–11, 2017

Location

2km north of Baasra, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.329050, 45.265357 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

US forces carried out a strike against al Shabaab at approximately 8pm local Somalia time killing “several” fighters, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said. It was also alleged by local officials that three civilians had died.

The strike hit the Lower Shabelle region. A Somali military official told Voice of America the strike, which they said was carried out by a drone, hit fighters in the region’s Basra village, located 30 kilometres north of Mogadishu.

A local Somali official said that three civilians had been killed in the strike, though the spokesperson for the security ministry dismissed the allegation as al Shabaab propaganda, Voice of America reported. An AFRICOM spokesperson later told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that this allegation had been assessed by them to be non credible.

AFRICOM officials said at least 13 fighters were killed in this attack. This and the four additional strikes between November 9th and November 12th killed “more than 40 terrorists,” a Pentagon spokesperson told reporters on November 13th. He did not say how many people were killed in which of the five strikes, “for operational reasons,” an AFRICOM spokesperson told the Bureau on November 15th 2017.

In July 2019, US investigative reporter Nick Turse obtained a FOIA response from AFRICOM which offered significant detail on the civilian casualty assessment (see below). Deeming the attack ‘NOT CREDIBLE’, the assessment claimed that “The targeted group was maneuvring, and openly displaying weapons, in an area approximately 2.5km north of the closest town, Basra.”

Amnesty International has also examined this case, noting the following in March 2019: “On 10 November 2017, the US conducted at least three air strikes in and around Baladul-Rahma and Geeshaan. In an email to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, AFRICOM confirmed it conducted a strike in the Lower Shabelle region. It did not provide details of casualties “for operational reasons”, however news reports at the time indicate three civilians were amongst those killed. According to records obtained
by Amnesty International, a total of 10 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, three Griffin missiles, and two GBU-69/Bs were fired by the US Air Force in Somalia between 10-17 November 2017.”

A senior Amnesty researcher later told Airwars that “The info on the Nov 10/11 strikes did come from interviews with local villagers, and it should line up both with the Bureau’s data and a lot of other news reporting – a fairly major operation happened in the general ‘Basra’ area at that time, but we weren’t able to name exactly which civilians died from air strikes and which died from ground ops.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM confirmed it had struck what it says were al Shabaab fighters, north of Baasra, on this date.

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–13

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • CGTN Africa Live report on US strikes in Somalia, November 13th 2017

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place 2 kilometers north of the village Baasra. The coordinates for this area are: 2.329050, 45.265357. Amnesty reported that the US ‘conducted at least three airstrikes in and around Baladul Rahma and Geeshaan’ on this date. These two villages are within very near vicinity of Baasra: the coordinates for Baladul Rahma are: 2.296128, 45.264368; the coordinates for Geeshaan are: 2.297905, 45.273261.

  • The villages Baasra, Baladul Rahma and Geeshaan, and the area 2 km north of Baasra

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    2.5km north of Basra
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Jul 1, 2019
  • [FOIA assessment obtained by US investigative reporter Nick Turse] On 25 JUN 18, New America reporter, David Sterman, contacted USAFRICQM PAO to inquire about a CIVCAS allegation concerning a strike IVO Basra, Somalia on 10NQV17. The allegation was featured in a single Voice of America (VOA) news report on 15NOV17. Voice of America indicated that "...A local official told VOA that three civilians were among at least 13 people killed on Saturday when drone-fired missiles targeted militants in the Basra village..." but that "...a Security Ministry spokesman denied the reported civilians death, dismissing it as al-Shabaab propaganda." NOT/NOT CREDIBLE: The targeted group was maneuvering, and openly displaying weapons, in an open area approximately 2.5 km north of the closest town, Basra, Somalia. The targeted group was observed massing approximately 2 km from the friendly force location. The strike occurred in the context of an assisted, partner force operation in the area where partner forces came under fire from hostile forces over a period of six hours. USAFRICOM is only aware of the allegations arising in one media report/allegation, and cite only one, unnamed villager. The VOA article itself indicates the Somali government Security Ministry separately assessed no civilians were killed.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Via email:

"U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Somalia against al-Shabaab on Friday, Nov. 10 at approximately 8 p.m. local Somalia time, killing several militants. The operation occurred in the Lower Shabelle Region of Somalia, about 20 miles north of the capital, Mogadishu."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–13

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM293-C

Incident date

March 10, 2020

Location

Near Janaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (1 child4 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–5

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

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

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

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

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

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

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Civilian casualty statements

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

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

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (1 child4 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–5

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM204-C

Incident date

March 7–8, 2019

Location

Gamboole, Middle Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

3.084048, 45.181788 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

According to local reports a US airstrike, carried out as part of a land and air operation, was conducted in the Gambole area killing up to eight alleged Al-Shabaab fighters on March 8th. Two civilians were also reportedly killed in the strike and four more injured, Voice of America said.

According to Mareeg: “U.S. forces have launched a new air and ground operation to oust Al Shabaab militia from towns in south of Somalia. Somali especial forces were also involved in the operation carried out in Gambole area, some 50km away from Jowhar town. Jowhar, a town lies some 91km north of Somali capital Mogadishu.

“The operation triggered a brief gun battle between the coalition forces and Al Shabaab, according to a witness, who asked to be anonymous. Somali regional officials said at least 8 militants were killed in air strike after ground offensive.”

According to Halgan Media: “#US Special Forces conducted a Night raid overnight targeting Gambole village in Southern #Somalia. Fierce clashes erupted between Militants & #US Special Forces. The Americans retreated under the cover of unmarked Helicopters & the village was hit with Drone Strike shortly after”.

However Voice of America Somali reported that two civilians were killed and four injured in the raid: “Residents told VOA that the shelling targeted a building occupied by al-Shabaab militants, offices and judicial and training centers. The attack, which resulted in heavy casualties among Al-Shabaab militias, is said to have been carried out by Somali and US forces although this has not been confirmed.

A senior official of said that at least eight Al-Shabaab militants were killed in the operation. Two civilians were also killed and four others injured. Al-Shabaab officials said they had lost about three members, including Gambole County chief of operations, and the deputy chief of finance for al-Shabaab. Gamboole is al-Shabaab’s largest base in the Middle Shabelle region. There have been no reports from al-Shabaab and Somali government forces so far.”

Garowe Online also reported two civilian deaths in the raid.

Soomaaliweyn published what it said were munitions left behind after the raid. And Gedo Times said that “Residents said that they first heard the sound of a helicopter flying in at low altitude area and then heard a loud crash in the area, followed by foreign and Somali troops inside Gamboole, an al-Shabaab stronghold, to carry out various actions. No one has been able to confirm the casualties caused by the shelling but the Gamboole area is an important area for al-Shabaab.”

In April 2020 AFRICOM denied responsibility, noting in its first quarterly civilian harm report: “January 21, 2020, AFRICOM received a report from a foreign non-government organization claiming two (2) civilians were killed and four (4) injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Gambole, Somalia, on March 8, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date and location.”

However, since the allegation clearly refers to a joint US-Somali ground operation as well as a possible airstrike, Airwars reached out for further clarification. On May 6th 2020, an AFRICOM official stated the following:

“The term ‘strike’ is defined as U.S. munitions of any type employed by U.S. military forces under the authority of U.S. Africa Command. This includes both air and ground operations.

1) Were US ground forces present as alleged?

USAFRICOM forces were not in the vicinity of where the alleged civilian harm occurred.

2) Did US ground forces engage in kinetic actions?

USAFRICOM did not execute a kinetic strike on the alleged date.

3) Are any US kinetic ground actions believed to have contributed to civilian harm?

USAFRICOM ground forces did not contribute to the alleged civilian harm.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–8

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • Reported image from a Somali_US raid on an al Shabaab base at Gambole, March 7th-8th in which two civilians were among those reported killed (Image via Caasimada)
  • Reported image from a Somali_US raid on an al Shabaab base at Gambole, March 7th-8th in which two civilians were among those reported killed (Image via Caasimada)
  • Reported image from a Somali_US raid on an al Shabaab base at Gambole, March 7th-8th in which two civilians were among those reported killed (Image via Caasimada)
  • Reported image from a Somali_US raid on an al Shabaab base at Gambole, March 7th-8th in which two civilians were among those reported killed (Image via Caasimada)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted an Al Shabaab camp in the village of Gamboole in South Somalia, some 50 kilometers from of the town Jowhar. The coordinates for the village Gamboole are: 3.084048, 45.181788. 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.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • May 6, 2020
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • January 21, 2020, AFRICOM received a report from a foreign non-government organization claiming two (2) civilians were killed and four (4) injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Gambole, Somalia, on March 8, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date and location.

  • For the Civilian Casualty Quarterly Assessment report the term "strike" is defined as U.S. munitions of any type employed by U.S. military forces under the authority of U.S. Africa Command. This includes both air and ground operations. We have answered the questions separately under each numbered incident. 1) Were US ground forces present as alleged? USAFRICOM forces were not in the vicinity of where the alleged civilian harm occurred. 2) Did US ground forces engage in kinetic actions? USAFRICOM did not execute a kinetic strike on the alleged date. 3) Are any US kinetic ground actions believed to have contributed to civilian harm? USAFRICOM ground forces did not contribute to the alleged civilian harm.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–8

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM186a-C

Incident date

February 1, 2019

Location

IVO Janay Abdalle, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.02819, 42.287022 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

An unspecified number was allegedly killed by a US strike on Janay Abdalle, which AFRICOM later discounted.

In first quarterly civilian casualty assessment it says: “February 3, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming an unspecified number of civilians were killed from an airstrike in the vicinity of Janay Abdalle, Somalia, on February 1, 2019. The allegation does not state who conducted the airstrike. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S military strike took place at the alleged location.”

Airwars was not able to find the original online source.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

February 3, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming an unspecified number of civilians were killed from an airstrike in the vicinity of Janay Abdalle, Somalia, on February 1, 2019. The allegation does not state who conducted the airstrike. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S military strike took place at the alleged location.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]