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

USSOM299-C

Incident date

March 27, 2020

Location

near Buulo Fuulay, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFRICOM later deemed the claims of civilian harm as unsubstantiated in its quarterly civilian casuatly assessment report: “On March 27, 2020 an airstrike was executed on two individuals which U.S. intelligence confirmed were al-Shabaab members. The airstrike was executed after the two fighters departed a known al-Shabaab compound on a motorbike. The strike was conducted in a remote area where the effects were confirmed to be limited to the individuals. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

The incident occured in the evening.

The victims were named as:

Age unknown male killed
Age unknown male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • 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
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

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

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
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • 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
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM355

Incident date

November 3, 2022

Location

near the villages of Cadale, Mora-Erri, Garas Magan, and El Hareeri, Hiiraan, Somalia

Geolocation

2.760694, 46.322374 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between eight and 200 al-Shabaab militants were killed by declared US airstrikes in support of Somali forces and/or Somali ground operations near the villages of Cadale, Mora-Erri, Garas Magan, and El Hareeri on November 3, 2022.

AFRICOM released a statement two days later, on November 5th, that “In support of the Federal Government of Somalia’s ongoing operations against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Cadale, Somalia, on Nov. 3, 2022. The command’s initial assessment is that the Somalia National Army-requested strike killed 15 attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

Hiiraan Online News reported that “Abdullahi Ali Anod, a spokesman for the defence ministry told reporters in Mogadishu that 100 al-Shabab fighters were killed during the “intense operation” in the Garas Magan and El Hareeri villages of the Hiran region and that drones were striking the militants during the fight. Another member of the Somali military, Major Ahmed Abdullahi Beeryare, commander of the 16th battalion of the US-trained Danab commandos, told local media in Hiiiraan that “the number of al-Shabab fatalities could be as high as 200.” Hiiraan added that new organizations had not yet verified the government casualty claims.

Reuters reported that al-Shabaab stated that they killed dozens of Somali army soldiers and macawisley fighters during clashes with the army and that eight of their own fighters were killed by US airstrikes. Reuters also mentioned that the Somali national army posted photographs of the bodies of alleged al-Shabaab fighters on their Telegram channel.

The US airstrike came as Somali Armed Forces were advancing to Adanyabal, an al-Shabaab stronghold, after Somali troops took over Qura’dhere and Habal-Hussein villages that same day, according to @dhoorebbc.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–200

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Cadale, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.760694, 46.322374. 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
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia’s ongoing operations against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Cadale, Somalia, on Nov. 3, 2022.
The command’s initial assessment is that the Somalia National Army-requested strike killed 15 attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.
U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote a more secure and stable Africa.
Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack partner and U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests.
Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.
U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–200

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM388

Incident date

June 11, 2023

Location

Bulo-Mohamed-Abdalla under Awdhigle district, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

At least 19 al-Shabaab militants were killed by operations carried out by Somalia government forces and international partners in Bula-Mohamed-Abdalla village on June 11, 2023

Somali National News Agency (@SONNALIVE) announced that at least 19 al-Shabaab militants were killed by joint operations between the National Intelligence Service Agency and international allies in Bula-Mohamed-Abdalla village. In addition, vehicles and weapons were destroyed.

Other local and international sources provided similar details quoted from the Somali government sources, with @ZakeriyeAxmed added that they had not independently verified the claims.

While no sources directly implicated the US in the operation, the Somali government’s reference to “international partners” has in the past indicated US involvement.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    19

Sources (5) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    19

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM232-C

Incident date

June 5, 2019

Location

Outskirts of Tortoroow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

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

However AFRICOM later insisted thast the victim was “a high-level, al-Shabaab financier” and that “U.S. assets executed a strike on the individual in an isolated area separate from the civilian populace.”

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

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

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

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

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

In April 2020, in its first quarterly civilian casualty report, AFRICOM explicitly denied causing civilian harm: “June 8, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. U.S. intelligence identified and located a high-level, al-Shabaab financier. U.S. assets executed a strike on the individual in an isolated area separate from the civilian populace. This is contrary to the allegation which stated the strike occurred at the man’s home. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Ibrahim Abdi Gaab Osman
Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

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

Geolocation notes

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

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

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • June 8, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. U.S. intelligence identified and located a high-level, al-Shabaab financier. U.S. assets executed a strike on the individual in an isolated area separate from the civilian populace. This is contrary to the allegation which stated the strike occurred at the man’s home. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.

Original strike reports

US Forces

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States. In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM, and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM319-C

Incident date

September 20, 2020

Location

Moyiloow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

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

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.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • On Sept. 21, 2020 USAFRICOM received one (1) report from an online media source claiming eight (8) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali/U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia on Sept. 21, 2020. USAFRICOM’s assessment is ongoing.

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM366

Incident date

January 20, 2023

Location

Galcad, Galguduud, Somalia

Geolocation

4.023380, 46.617680 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

AFRICOM declared that they had carried out an airstrike or drone strike that killed between 30 and 100 alleged militants approximately 260 km northeast of Mogadishu near Galcad, Somalia on January 20, 2023. There are no known reports of civilian harm.

US AFRICOM announced that “at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and in support of Somali National Army engagements against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike on Jan. 20, 2023. The strike occurred approximately 260 km northeast of Mogadishu near Galcad, Somalia where Somalia National Army forces were engaged in heavy fighting following a complex, extended, intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabaab fighters. The combined actions by partner forces on the ground and the collective self-defense strike is estimated to have resulted in three destroyed vehicles and approximately thirty al-Shabaab terrorists killed. Given the remote location of the fighting, the command assesses that no civilians were injured or killed.”

Reuters pointed out that the strike occurred on the same day that al-Shabaab militants stormed a Somali military base in Galcad, killing seven soldiers and exploding car bombs, but their attack was eventually repelled. Garowe clarified the timeline, reporting that the airstrike came after the ambush of the army base.

Reuters quoted Somalia’s Information Ministry who stated that their soldiers killed 100 of the group’s fighters and destroyed five gun-mounted pick-up vehicles (known as technicals,” which may have been part of the same operation that the US assisted with airstrikes. Hiiraan Online News quoted al-Shabaab who stated that they had “miraculously overrun the U.S.-trained forces” and killed over 150 government-associated fighters. A US defense official told CNN that there was no US military present on the ground when the airstrike occurred.

The majority of sources referred only to the incident as a “strike,” while @charlie_savage tweeted that the strike was carried out by a drone.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    30–100

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of alleged al-Shabaab members killed during operations in Galcad on January 20, 2022. (Image posted by @SomaliaNews252)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of alleged al-Shabaab members killed during operations in Galcad on January 20, 2022. (Image posted by @SomaliaNews252)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Galcad, for which the generic coordinates are: 4.023380, 46.617680. 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
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

Somali, U.S. forces engage insurgents in support of the Federal Government of Somalia

At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and in support of Somali National Army engagements against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike on Jan. 20, 2023.

The strike occurred approximately 260 km northeast of Mogadishu near Galcad, Somalia where Somalia National Army forces were engaged in heavy fighting following a complex, extended, intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabaab fighters.

The combined actions by partner forces on the ground and the collective self-defense strike is estimated to have resulted in three destroyed vehicles and approximately thirty al-Shabaab terrorists killed.

Given the remote location of the fighting, the command assesses that no civilians were injured or killed.

The U.S. is one of several countries providing support to the Federal Government of Somalia in its ongoing campaign to disrupt, degrade and defeat terrorist groups. Rooting out extremism ultimately requires intervention beyond traditional military means, leveraging U.S. and partner efforts to support effective governance, promote stabilization and economic development, and resolve ongoing conflicts.

U.S. Africa Command is the defense arm of the U.S. whole-of-government approach with African partners -- diplomacy, development and defense. This three-pronged, or “3D” approach aims to increase cooperation and support for “partner-led, U.S.-enabled” solutions to shared security challenges, including violent extremism or terrorism. All kinetic operations conducted and supported by U.S. Africa Command are done in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia.

Somalia remains central to stability and security in all of East Africa. U.S. Africa Command's forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to help give them the tools they need to defeat al-Shabaab, the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of this operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.

The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command's operations to promote greater security for all Africans. To view the U.S. Africa Command Quarterly Civilian Casualty reports, visit: https://www.africom.mil/what-we-do/airstrikes/civilian-casualty-report

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    30–100

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM399

Incident date

August 25, 2023

Location

Sheekhow farm outside Awdhegle town, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

27 al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed by operations carried out by Somalia government forces and international partners at Sheekhow farm outside Awdhegle town village on August 25, 2023.

@HarunMaruf quoted state media who reported that government forces in collaboration with international partners carried out an operation that resulted in the killing of 27 militants. @HarunMaruf pointed out that the casualty numbers reported by state media have not been independently confirmed.

While no sources directly implicated the US in the operation, the Somali government’s reference to “international partners” has in the past indicated US involvement.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    27

Sources (1) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    27

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM261-C

Incident date

December 29, 2019

Location

Vicinity of Kunyo Barrow, Somalia

Airwars assessment

In retaliatory actions against al Al Shabaab for a mass casualty bombing in Mogadishu a day earlier, the United States said that it had conducted three strikes against al Shbaab commanders, killing four people in total.This entry relates to one of two strikes in the vicinity of Kunyo Barrow in Lower Shabelle.

Al Shabaab itself claimed that the strike in fact killed at least one civilian non combatant it named as local businessman Kusow Haji Mohammed Yusuf – with locals also reporting that a herd of 11 camels was slain in the attack. However in April 2020 AFRICOM refuted this, insisting that “It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

According to an AFRICOM press release issued on the same day as the event, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes in two (2) locations targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow and Caliyoow Barrow, Somalia, respectively, Dec. 29.”

“Initial assessment concluded two airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists and destroyed two (2) vehicles in Qunyo Barrow; and one airstrike killed two (2) terrorists in Caliyoow Barrow. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes. We comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations to ensure the safety of civilians.”

It added that “These precision airstrikes targeted al-Shabaab militants responsible for terrorist acts against innocent Somali citizens and coordinating with al-Qaeda.”

In what may be a separate or related incident, according to one local source, Somalia Terror Updates, two strikes took place “in the vicinity of Moqokori in Hiiraan region.” Since this is not in Lower Shabelle this would appear to be a different event.

The alleged al Shabaab suicide bombing on December 28th 2019 caused the largest single loss of civilian life of the year – with at least 81 people slain.

However there was later some doubt over whether al Shabaab was solely responsible, with VOA reporter Harun Maruf tweeting on December 30th that “Somalia’s intelligence agency says it has submitted a preliminary report indicating that a foreign country ‘planned’ Saturday’s bombing in Mogadishu. NISA didn’t publicly release the evidence pointing towards the involvement of a foreign country.”

Also on December 30th, reports emerged via al Shabaab that at least one adult civilian male had died in one of the Kunyo Barrow attacks, along with a herd of camels. According to Morad News, Horn News and others – which published images of the aftermath of the attack and the funeral of the victim – “local businessman” Kusow Haji Mohammed Yusuf was in fact killed when his 4-wheel drive was targeted. A nearby herd of 11 or 12 camels also died.

Horn News was alone in reporting that “several civilians” were killed – though offered no further details.

In April 2020, AFRICOM explicitly denied causing civilian harm in this event: “After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On December 29, 2019 two airstrikes were executed against two individuals (one individual per strike) which U.S. intelligence confirmed were affiliated with al-Shabaab. Intelligence identified the individuals’ affiliation with the organization which was further corroborated during post-strike assessment. Strike video confirmed that the effects were limited to the two individuals. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Kusow Haji Mohammed Yusuf
Adult male Described by al Shabaab as a local businessman killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (25) [ collapse]

  • 'We submitted to the national authorities, an initial report indicating that the massacre of the Somali people in Mogadishu, 28 Dec-2019, was planned by a foreign country. In the ongoing investigation, we will work with some of the world's intelligence agencies.'
  • A camel reportedly slain in a US airstrike which al Shabaab insisted also killed a civilian businessman on December 29th 2019 (via Morad News)
  • A camel reportedly slain in a US airstrike which al Shabaab insisted also killed a civilian businessman on December 29th 2019 (via Morad News)
  • A camel herder describes the death of his herd, reportedly slain in a US airstrike which al Shabaab insisted also killed a civilian businessman on December 29th 2019 (via Morad News)
  • A munition fragment - most likely from a Hellfire missile indicating a drone strike - at the scene of a US action which al Shabaab insisted also killed a civilian businessman on December 29th 2019 (via Morad News)
  • The body of Kusow Haji Mohammed Yusuf, reportedly a civilian killed in a US strike near Kunyo barrow on December 29th 2019 (via Morad News)
  • The burial of Kusow Haji Mohammed Yusuf, reportedly a civilian killed in a US strike near Kunyo Barrow on December 29th 2019 (via Morad News)
  • ADN TV
  • Aftermath of a US strike near Kunyo Barrow on December 29th 2019 which reportedly killed a civilian
  • Aftermath of a US strike near Kunyo Barrow on December 29th 2019 which reportedly killed a civilian
  • Aftermath of a US strike near Kunyo Barrow on December 29th 2019 which reportedly killed a civilian
  • Aftermath of a US strike near Kunyo Barrow on December 29th 2019 which reportedly killed a civilian (via Morad News)

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.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • December 30, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Kunyo Barrow, Somalia, on December 29, 2019. AFRICOM received a duplicate allegation of this incident on January 21, 2020, from a foreign non-government organization. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On December 29, 2019 two airstrikes were executed against two individuals (one individual per strike) which U.S. intelligence confirmed were affiliated with al-Shabaab. Intelligence identified the individuals’ affiliation with the organization which was further corroborated during post-strike assessment. Strike video confirmed that the effects were limited to the two individuals. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]