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

USSOM400

Incident date

August 25, 2023

Location

in the vicinity of Basra, between Afgoye and Bal’ad towns, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Five al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed by operations carried out by Somalia government forces and international partners in the vicinity of Basra, between Afgoye and Bal’ad towns on August 25, 2023.

@HarunMaruf quoted state media who reported that government forces in collaboration with international partners carried out a second operation that resulted in the killing of five 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 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
    5

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 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
    5

Sources (1) [ 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

USSOM398

Incident date

August 20, 2023

Location

Buk Akable settlement, Hiran region, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Mepa News reported that according to local sources, US airstrikes on the Buk Akable settlement resulted in the death of three civilians, including women and children, and the injury of seven others. The source stated that Somalia government media was claiming that those killed were members of al-Shabaab and that AFRICOM has not released a statement on this incident.

No other sources were found to have reported on this incident.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1–2 children1–2 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • 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]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1–2 children1–2 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • 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

USSOM397

Incident date

August 15, 2023

Location

in a remote area near Cali Heele, Galgaduud, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Five al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed by declared US airstrikes near Cali Heele in the Galgaduud region on August 15, 2023

AFRICOM released a statement that “At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense airstrike in a remote area near Cali Heele, approximately 244 kilometers North East of Mogadishu, Somalia against al-Shabaab terrorists on August 15. The airstrike was in support of Somali National Army forces who were engaged by the terrorist organization. Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command’s initial assessment is that the U.S. airstrike killed 5 al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

The Somali government added that the strikes also destroyed a militant hideout.

According to @HarunMaruf, Somali state media reported a similar casualty figure, which was supposedly one of the first times that the Somali state and the US reported similar casualty counts.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • 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
    5

Sources (10) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense airstrike in a remote area near Cali Heele, approximately 244 kilometers North East of Mogadishu, Somalia against al-Shabaab terrorists on August 15.

The airstrike was in support of Somali National Army forces who were engaged by the terrorist organization.

Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command's initial assessment is that the U.S. airstrike killed 5 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 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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • 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
    5

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM396

Incident date

July 24, 2023

Location

in the Bisig Adde settlement of Buurhakabe district, Bay, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Mepa News reported that US airstrikes on the Bisig Adde settlement of Buurhakabe district on July 24, 2023 bombarded civilian areas, resulting in the death of 5 civilians, including children, and the injury of 10 civilians. Images posted by the source show multiple injured civilians being treated.

No other sources reported on this incident.

The incident occured at 12:00:00 local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (2 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • 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]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Civilians killed and injured by alleged US airstrikes in Somalia on July 24, 2023. (Image posted by Mepa News)

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (2 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • 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

USSOM395

Incident date

July 21, 2023

Location

Buurhakaba town, Bay, Somalia

Airwars assessment

A tweet from @ArlaadiMnetwork quoted Buurhakaba town commissioner Ibrahim Mohamed Leysamow that “11 #AlShabab fighters were killed in a fresh airstrike conducted by international friends besides the city.’

No other information was available regarding the strike and who was responsible.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    11

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
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    11

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM394

Incident date

July 19, 2023

Location

near Hareeri Kalle, Galguduud region, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Between five and 100 militants were killed and several others were injured by declared US airstrikes and Somali ground operations near Hareeri Kalle in July 19, 2023.

AFRICOM released a statement that “At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense airstrike in a remote area near Hareeri Kalle, approximately 15 kilometers south of Galcad, Somalia against al-Shabaab terrorists. The airstrike was in support of Somali National Army forces who were engaged by the terrorist organization. Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command’s initial assessment is that the U.S. airstrike killed 5 al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

Garowe Online reported that according to the Somali Ministry of Information, airstrikes and a ground offensive in the Gal Libaax and Ceel Qurac areas left over 100 al-Shabaab members dead and several others injured, as well as the seizure of several weapons and military vehicles. Long War Journal pointed out that the number of casualties has not been independently verified.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • 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
    5–100
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Statement from the Somali Ministry of Information

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense airstrike in a remote area near Hareeri Kalle, approximately 15 kilometers south of Galcad, Somalia against al-Shabaab terrorists.

The airstrike was in support of Somali National Army forces who were engaged by the terrorist organization.

Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command’s initial assessment is that the U.S. airstrike killed 5 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 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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • 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
    5–100
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM393

Incident date

July 12, 2023

Location

Weelmarow Village, Lower Juba, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Kenyans.co.ke reported that a joint operation by US Commandos, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the Security Forces in Jubaland resulted in the death of 17 al-Shabaab militants in Weelmarow Village in Lower Juba. The source added that the majority of the al-Shabaab militants were Kenyan and Ethiopian natives.

No other sources reported on the incident.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • 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 attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    17

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 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
    17

Sources (1) [ collapse]