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
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Strike Status
Strike Type
Infrastructure

Incident Code

USSOM237b-C

Incident date

July 19, 2019

Location

Shanta Baraako, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.225, 45.21292 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two civilian were reported killed by US ground troops near Shanta Baraako in an apparent distortion of an In These Times investigation. AFRICOM later discounted the allegation.

The In These Times report alleged that Waliyo Cali Qaasim and Abdikadir Ali were killed by Danab special forces in a counter-terrorism operation.

In a post in the Nairaland forum, the report was rewritten alleging the two were killed by “AFRICOM soldiers”.

AFRICOM responded to the allegation in its first quarterly civilian casualty report: “December 30, 2019, AFRICOM received an allegation from an online media source claiming two (2) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Shanta Baraako, Somalia, on July 12, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.”

In a further clarification to Airwars, AFRICOM officials responded on May 6th 2020:

“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 incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Shanta Baraako, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.225, 45.21292. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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

US Forces
  • May 6, 2020
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • December 30, 2019, AFRICOM received an allegation from an online media source claiming two (2) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Shanta Baraako, Somalia, on July 12, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.

  • 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.

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces

Sources (3) [ 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

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    US 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.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    IVO Kismayo
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM331-C

Incident date

January 19, 2021

Location

Jamaame, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.06978, 42.748066 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

One civilian was allegedly killed in a US airstrike on Jamaame.

Halgan Media said: “US drones just bombed the town of Jamaame in the Lower Jubba province of Somalia and killed a prominent Clan elder named Mohamed Abbas, who died instantly when a missile from a US drone hit his home – Sources.”

Somali Memo, linked to Al Shabaab, wrote: “Reports from the Lower Jubba region say that an airstrike on the outskirts of Jamame killed one of the traditional elders of the Somali clans.

A drone strike near the town of Jamaame has killed Sultan Mohamed Abbas, the sultan of the Habar Gidir clan in Jubba regions.”

The AFRICOM press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted two airstrikes in the vicinities of Jamaame and Deb Scinnele, Somalia, Jan. 19.

Initial assessments indicate the strikes killed three al-Shabaab operatives.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.”

AFRICOM’s 2nd Quarter 2021 Civilian Casualty Assessment Quarterly Report stated that “U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on Jan. 19, 2021. After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. The airstrike on Jan. 19, 2021 targeted an al-Shabaab commander who planned and coordinated attacks against partner forces in the region. Multiple U.S. intelligence reports, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed the individual was an al-Shabaab commander. The airstrike occurred in an open area where the effects of the strike were limited to the targeted individual and the vehicle he was driving.”

AFRICOM revisited the strike again in the 4th Quarter 2021 Civilian Casualty Assessment Quarterly Report, giving an update that “U.S. Africa Command stands by the targeted airstrike that killed al-Shabaab commander, Mohamed Abbas Ahmed Dirshe, who planned and coordinated attacks against partner forces in the region. A series of intelligence reports dating back to 2018 clearly detail his direct role in al-Shabaab including the planning and execution of al-Shabaab operations in the region.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)
  • Remnants of US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by US airstrike on Jamaame on January 20th, 2021 (via Morad News)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jamaame, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.06978, 42.748066. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Open incident
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Mar 11, 2022
  • Jun 4, 2021
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Jan. 19, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on Jan. 19, 2021. U.S. Africa Command’s assessment of this report is ongoing.

  • (Unsubstantiated) Jan. 19, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on Jan. 19, 2021. After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. The airstrike on Jan. 19, 2021 targeted an al-Shabaab commander who planned and coordinated attacks against partner forces in the region. Multiple U.S. intelligence reports, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed the individual was an al-Shabaab commander. The airstrike occurred in an open area where the effects of the strike were limited to the targeted individual and the vehicle he was driving.

  • Update: U.S. Africa Command stands by the targeted airstrike that killed al-Shabaab commander, Mohamed Abbas Ahmed Dirshe, who planned and coordinated attacks against partner forces in the region. A series of intelligence reports dating back to 2018 clearly detail his direct role in al-Shabaab including the planning and execution of al-Shabaab operations in the region.

Original strike reports

US Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted two airstrikes in the vicinities of Jamaame and Deb Scinnele, Somalia, Jan. 19.
Initial assessments indicate the strikes killed three al-Shabaab operatives.
The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.
“These strikes targeted known al-Shabaab leaders involved in IED facilitation, fighter training, and attack planning,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Striking these leaders disrupts al-Shabaab’s ability to attack our partners and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians with improvised explosive devices. We are working closely with our Somali partners to support their operations against al-Shabaab, protect their people, and provide governance.”
Joint Task Force - Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional interests.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM075-C

Incident date

July 2–10, 2017

Location

O'wdhiile, 55 miles south of Mogadishu, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.685639, 44.618833 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

An airstrike reportedly killed up to two civilians in O’wdhille, a village about 55 miles south of Mogadishu, according to findings from a field investigation by The Nation.

Reporter Amanda Sperber detailed the account of Osman [not his real name] whose relatives were reportedly killed in the strike:

“Around 5 pm in early July 2017, Osman said he heard an explosion. He waited until it seemed safe, and then ran to the farm that was hit—only to find the body of his 38-year-old brother. Osman said his brother was picking fruit with his uncle, 42-year-old Abdullahi, whom he has not seen since and presumes was killed in the blast.

A day later, Osman said, government soldiers came and inspected the scene. After they left, Al Shabaab arrived and accused villagers of feeding the government information. Six members of the group allegedly interrogated Osman for seven days. He said they blindfolded him, beat him with their rifles, and shot him repeatedly in the leg.

After a local emir negotiated his release, Osman continued, he was tossed in a vegetable cart and left on the side of the road. Still suffering from the wounds of his torture, he took a four-hour minibus ride to Mogadishu, where he spent four months recovering at Medina Hospital. He said that during this time, Al Shabaab kept threatening his father and surviving brother.

US Africa Command did not publicly report any strikes near O’wdhiile in July 2017. They did however release a list of previously unreported strikes to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in which for operational security reasons, AFRICOM said it couldn’t give the exact locations – these are recorded here as SOM051, SOM052 and SOM053. Sperber, however, stated that Africom released the location of these three strikes to her and reported  that “none are near Osman’s house.”

She went on to note that she sent Osman’s story on to US Africa Command which stated that it didn’t match any of their records. The journalist has suggested that the strike may not match Africom’s records because it could potentially be a CIA strike.

In July 2019, more information about the event emerged in a FOIA obtained by reporter Nick Turse. This stated: “NOT/ NOT CREDIBLE Researching classified documents, all  strikes occurring on that [unspecified] date were more than 20 miles away from claimed location of CIVCAS.”

The incident occured at 17:00:00 local time.

  • Abdullahi 42 years old male killed
  • Brother of Osman Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a farm in a village called O’wdhiile, 55 miles south of Mogadishu. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of this village. The coordinates for the area 55 miles of Mogadishu are: 1.685639, 44.618833.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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
  • Stated location
    20 minutes by foot from the village of Shalan Bood
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Dec 21, 2018
  • On 12 December 2018, AFRICOM public affairs fielded a request for information from Amanda Sperber. Similar to a previous allegation, she was relaying to AFRICOM an allegation of CIVCAS from [ ]. He alleges that his uncle and brother were killed in a strike about 20 minutes by foot, outside the village of Shalan Bood in early July 2017. NOT/ NOT CREDIBLE Researching classified documents, all  strikes occurring on that [unspecified] date were more than 20 miles away from claimed location of CIVCAS.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM348

Incident date

July 17, 2022

Location

Labi-Kus, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.355928, 42.546960 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

An AFRICOM declared US airstrike in coordination with Somali Army commandos resulted in the death of up to five Al-Shabab fighters near Labi-Kus village on July 17, 2022.

Somali National News Agency (SONNA), a Somali government-run news agency, tweeted that “three #Alshabab terrorists were killed and one was captured after Somali National Army’s commandos (#DANAB) attacked a roadblock which terrorists used to extort money from the local people near Labi-Kus village under #Kismayo town , on Sunday “. Graphic images accompanying the tweet show the bodies of two alleged members of Al-Shabab.

A tweet from Somali National Television (@sntvnews1) reported that two Al-Shabab fighters were killed in action in the vicinity of the Jubba River Valley and no civilians were killed, adding that the operation was carried out by the Somali National Army’s Danab brigade. Shabelle Media Network tweeted that five militants were killed and one was captured alive, and that at least four assault rifles and a PKM machine gun were also seized in the operation. Somaliweyn added that that intelligence that led to the operation was based on the movement of the weapons they seized.

Horseed Media specified that the Somali Forces that were involved was the the 5th Division, 16th Battalion and that a statement issued by the Danab military command said that they killed “least 5 members of Al-Shabaab, including the officer in charge of the area”. According to Kulmiye News Network, one of the militants killed was the “leader of Al-Shabaab in charge of financial affairs in this area, whose name was shortened to Ismail”.

AFRICOM released a statement on July18th stating that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Libikus, Somalia July 17, 2022…The command’s initial assessment is that two al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in action and that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.” However, none of the reporting prior to the press release mention US involvement, with many sources, including the Somali government-run news agency (SONNA), indicating that Somali forces were responsible.

This was the second incident declared by AFRICOM since US President Joe Biden ordered the redeployment of troops to Somalia in May.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of the body of an alleged Al-Shabab member killed during a US and Somali operation in Lab-Kus village on July 17, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of the body of an alleged Al-Shabab member killed during a US and Somali operation in Lab-Kus village on July 17, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)
  • Image of what may the goods seized during the UUS and Somali operation against an Al-Shabab roadblock in Labi-Kus on July 17, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Labi-Kus, allegedly located within the vicinity of Kismayo city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Kismayo are: -0.355928, 42.546960.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Libikus, Somalia July 17, 2022.
U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in defense of designated partner forces.
The command’s initial assessment is that two al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in action and that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.
The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.
The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians.
Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to Somali, regional and U.S. interests.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM127-C

Incident date

May 9–10, 2018

Location

Bulcida Macalinka (northeast), Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.090326, 44.990577 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Five civilians were reportedly killed in a US and/or Somali-waged ground operation – possibly also involving airpower – in the Lower Shabelle region, local and international media reported. The US denied allegations of harm on several occasions.

The raid was reportedly carried out by Somalia commandos, with the US saying American troops supported the mission in an “advise and assist” capacity. Additionally, three local al Shabaab members were captured.

The raid took place in or near the village of Ma’alinka in the Lower Shabelle region. While a Somali intelligence official said the site targeted was a “key hideout and coordination centre” of al Shabaab, relatives and locals said it was a banana farm.

Reports soon surfaced of as many as five civilians being killed in the raid, who were allegedly shot dead. Ali Mohamed Moalin, an elder from the area, said “two military helicopters” were involved as well as “some foreign special forces”. “There are five dead bodies of innocent farmers who have been killed by the special forces last night,” said Moalin.

Associated Press noted: “People who described themselves as relatives of the people killed in Wednesday’s raid expressed bewilderment. “They were not armed nor were they al-Shabab members,” said Ibrahim Ahmed, who said he was a family member of one man killed. I don’t understand why a farm would make a target for a raid,” he added, pointing at one of the bloodied bodies that had been laid out on the ground outside a hospital in the capital, Mogadishu.”

Goobjoog reported that one person was critically injured and five civilian farmers killed. “The bodies of five people who were killed in a Somali and foreign forces operation in the outskirts of Afgooye, town some 40 kilometres south west of Mogadishu were transported to Mogadishu Thursday. The five bodies were first taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters before they were moved to Medina Hospital. Goobjoog News correspondent Ali Mumin reporting from the hospital said one person who was critically injured was taken to Digfer Hospital for specialised treatment.”

The Daily Beast published a detailed account of the attack, highlighting the complexity surrounding US military activity in Somalia. “Five locals were injured by the Somali commandos and at some point during a firefight with people whose identities no one could agree upon, five local people were killed,” journalist Christina Goldbaum wrote.

Soon after the incident, the Somali government denied the allegations of civilian casualties. US Africa Command said it would review information on the raid but announced in June 2018 that after a “thorough” review the allegations had been deemed “not credible”.

Moreover, three others, reportedly local al Shabaab members, were said to have been captured in the raid, as reported by AP News.

The US said the raid took place near Bulcida, which is on the outskirts of Afgoye. APF also placed the attack near Afgoye. The Daily Beast and Garowe Online said the raid occurred in Ma’alinka village near Bariire, which was also the site of a deadly raid in August 2017. Bariire is close to Afgoye.

In July 2019, US investigative reporter Nick Turse obtained a declassified AFRICOM report on recent civilian harm assessments, which added significant additional knowledge on the event. While accepting that five people were killed and one wounded by ‘partner forces’, the assessment “suggest[s] that the individuals killed and wounded in the raid were al-Shabaab fighters.”

In August 2021, AFRICOM published what it said was a reassessment of the event after receiving a complaint via its reporting portal – though once again determined that no civilian harm had taken place: “(Unsubstantiated) May 31, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report via the U.S. Africa Command civilian casualty reporting website claiming five (5) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali-U.S. military operation, occurring on May 9, 2018, in the vicinity of Moalinka, Somalia. This is a duplicate of civilian casualty reports U.S. Africa Command received in May 2018 in which an assessment was opened and determined that U.S. military action did not result in any casualties. Additionally, multiple sources of post-operation intelligence confirmed that any partner force action resulted in casualties only to al-Shabaab members, including one al-Shabaab commander.”

The incident occured at 01:00:00 local time.

  • Abdirahman Abdi Adult male Nightwatchman. One bullet grazed the left side of his head, and four others hit his right shoulder and forearm injured
  • Abdi Dahir Adult male Shot in thigh injured
  • Teenage boy Age unknown male injured
  • Teenage girl Age unknown female injured
  • Mohamed Hashi Nur Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (5 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Up to five civilians died in the event. Original photo caption: "Three local al Shabaab members were seized in a joint US-Somali raid on March 9th, 2018 in Lower Shabelle (via AP News)"
  • Abdirahman Abdi was wounded in the alleged US strike in Lower Shabelle, May 9th, 2018 . Here, he is photographed after being released from Digfeer Hospital in Mogadishu (via The Daily Beast)
  • al-Shabaab members in a mosque in Mombassa, Kenya in February 2014, photographed by Laban Walloga (via The Daily Beast)
  • Bodies of five civilians, according to the pro-Shabaab site Shabkadda Amiirnur

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the raid targeted a farm and houses near a borehole, in the northeast of a village called Ma’alinka. Another source mentions that the raid took place in the vicinity of Bulcida, near the town Afgoye. Northwest of Afgoye is a village called Bulcida Macalinka, for which the coordinates are: 2.0887147, 44.9833057. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we weren’t able to verify the precise location of the strike, however, the coordinates for the northeast area of the village are: 2.090326, 44.990577.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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
  • Stated location
    IVO Moalinka, Somalia
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Jun 8, 2018
  • Jul 1, 2019
  • Aug 20, 2021
  • (Unsubstantiated) May 31, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report via the U.S. Africa Command civilian casualty reporting website claiming five (5) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali-U.S. military operation, occurring on May 9, 2018, in the vicinity of Moalinka, Somalia. This is a duplicate of civilian casualty reports U.S. Africa Command received in May 2018 in which an assessment was opened and determined that U.S. military action did not result in any casualties. Additionally, multiple sources of post-operation intelligence confirmed that any partner force action resulted in casualties only to al-Shabaab members, including one al-Shabaab commander.

  • A detailed assessment was revealed in a FOIA response to journalist Nick Turse in July 2019: CIVCAS allegation brought to USAFRICOM's attention on 12 May 2018. The location and timing of the allegation corresponds to the geographic location of a known operation, but the number and characterization of those killed varied. The allegation did not contain information or images that correlated to this incident. NOT/ NOT CREDIBLE: The assessment determined that during the course of the operation, the partner force engaged several individuals with small arms fire after these individuals maneuvred against their position from a point of concealment. The assessment concluded that five individuals were killed and one was wounded as a result of partner force fire. While on-site sensitive exploitation was not posssible, post-operation classified reporting and detainee questioning suggest that individuals killed and wounded in the raid were al-Shabaab fighters.

  • "In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces, in an advise-and-assist capacity, partnered in a Somali-led operation to disrupt and degrade al-Shabaab's terrorist network near Bulcida, Somalia, May 9, 2018, as previously released. Following reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this operation, U.S. Africa Command performed a thorough review and determined the allegations of civilian casualties to be not credible. As with any allegation of civilian casualties, U.S. Africa Command reviewed all available relevant information concerning the incident."

Original strike reports

US Forces

"U.S. forces, in an advise-and-assist capacity, partnered in a Somali-led operation to disrupt and degrade al-Shabaab's terrorist network near Bulcida, Somalia, May 9."

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (5 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM250a-C

Incident date

October 3, 2019

Location

Abaloni, in the vicinity of Hosingow, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.174064, 41.269959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were allegedly killed by a US or Kenyan airstrike on Abaloni. AFRICOM later denied conducting a strike in the area.

Hussein Eliyow tweeted: “SOMALIA: Reports of US /Kenya airstrike in Abaloni village, outside Hosingow town last night. Residents say the airstrike killed at least two nomads. More details to follow.”

AFRICOM discounted the incident in its first quarterly civilian casualty report: “October 3, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming two (2) civilians were killed and one (1) injured as a result of an airstrike in the vicinity of Lower Jubba, Somalia. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or at the location.”

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Kenyan Military Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Abaloni, allegedly in the vicinity of Hosingow (هوسئنجو), close to the Kenyan border. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Hosingow are: -0.174064, 41.269959.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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

US Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • October 3, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming two (2) civilians were killed and one (1) injured as a result of an airstrike in the vicinity of Lower Jubba, Somalia. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or at the location.

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Kenyan Military Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM141-C

Incident date

August 20–26, 2018

Location

Basra, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

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

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

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

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

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

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (12)

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

Summary

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

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

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

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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
  • Stated location
    Basra
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

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

Summary

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

Sources (1) [ collapse]