US Forces in Somalia

Library image of an armed Reaper drone, December 2019 (US Air Force/ Senior Sergeant Haley Stevens)

Belligerent
US Forces
Country
Somalia
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM324a

Incident date

December 21, 2020

Location

Burr Heybo, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

2.99114, 44.30619 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike targeted Al Shabaab in Burr Heybo, AFRICOM told Airwars via email.

The correspondence reads: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Burr Heybo, Somalia on Dec. 21 targeting two (2) al-Shabaab terrorist. The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike yielded no death or injuries of al-Shabaab terrorists. U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

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
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Burr Heybo, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.99114, 44.30619. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Burr Heybo, Somalia on Dec. 21 targeting two (2) al-Shabaab terrorist. The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike yielded no death or injuries of al-Shabaab terrorists. U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

Summary

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

Incident Code

USSOM324

Incident date

December 11, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.7928186, 43.3841839 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Two US airstrikes reportedly killed between eight and ten Al Shabaab fighters near Jilib.

Garowe reported: “Amid plans to withdraw from Somalia, the US Africa Command conducted two airstrikes on Thursday in the Horn of Africa nation, killing at least eight Al-Shabaab commanders linked to the manufacturing of explosives besides coordinating attacks in the country.”

AFRICOM confirmed the strikes saying: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab explosives experts in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Dec. 10.

The initial assessment indicates the strike killed eight terrorists who were known to play important roles in producing explosives for al-Shabaab, to include vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). These devices are used frequently to target innocent civilians. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed.”

SONNA reported a higher death toll: “Initial assessments indicate that the airstrike killed 10 al-Shabaab militants. These facilities have a history of producing explosives for al-Shabaab suicide attacks.”

The incident might be related to events in USSOM322.

The first strike is reflected in USSOM323.

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
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jilib, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

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

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM323

Incident date

December 11, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.7928186, 43.3841839 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Two US airstrikes reportedly killed between eight and ten Al Shabaab fighters near Jilib.

Garowe reported: “Amid plans to withdraw from Somalia, the US Africa Command conducted two airstrikes on Thursday in the Horn of Africa nation, killing at least eight Al-Shabaab commanders linked to the manufacturing of explosives besides coordinating attacks in the country.”

AFRICOM confirmed the strikes saying: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab explosives experts in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Dec. 10.

The initial assessment indicates the strike killed eight terrorists who were known to play important roles in producing explosives for al-Shabaab, to include vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). These devices are used frequently to target innocent civilians. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed.”

SONNA reported a higher death toll: “Initial assessments indicate that the airstrike killed 10 al-Shabaab militants. These facilities have a history of producing explosives for al-Shabaab suicide attacks.”

The incident might be related to events in USSOM322.

The second strike is reflected in USSOM324.

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
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–10
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jilib, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–10
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM322

Incident date

November 6, 2020

Location

غندرشي, Gandarshe, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.8349369, 44.9668452 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A CIA paramilitary officer was killed in Somalia as a result of a joint ground raid with Somali special forces, it was later reported. Four elite Somali Danab troops also died during the event.

Sources close to Al Shabaab first reported on the incident. Somali Memo said: “Reports from Gandarshe area say that a suicide attack was carried out by allied forces in the area.

An improvised explosive device (IED) vehicle driven by a suicide bomber struck an American and Alpha Group militia.

An official statement from the Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Command said that the attack killed five soldiers, including an American soldier and 4 members of the Alpha Group militia, the statement said.

Reports say an explosion injured three Somali soldiers and an American soldier who were taken to Halane Camp.

The allied forces returned from Gandarshe with bodies and wounded, and military equipment was found at the scene of the attack, the sources added.

Residents said they heard the sound of US warplanes patrolling the area at midnight and the sound of a large explosion targeting them.”

The New York Times later wrote: “The officer was a member of the C.I.A.’s paramilitary division, the Special Activities Center, and a former member of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6. The identity of the officer remained classified, and the circumstances of the killing were ambiguous. It was unclear whether the officer was killed in a counterterrorism raid or was the victim of an enemy attack, former American officials said. The C.I.A. declined to comment.”

The Intercept gave details of the CIA officer’s apparent identity: “Michael Goodboe, a 54-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked for the CIA’s paramilitary unit, died after succumbing to injuries from an improvised explosive device, according to the two sources. The two sources requested anonymity because of the sensitivity around the attack and because they were not authorized to disclose Goodboe’s death… One of the people familiar with the attack said Goodboe was flown to Germany, where the U.S. has a military hospital, and later died of his injuries.”

Somali Memo said on November 26th that: “Although the exact location of the killing has not yet been announced, it is believed that he was killed in the Lower Shabelle region as part of a night raid by US forces and the Bangaraaf militia in areas controlled by Islamic law.”

On December 4th, The Guardian revealed both the date and location of the failed raid, citing local intelligence officials: “The [CIA] officer was deployed alongside Somali and US special forces during the operation at Gendershe, a coastal village about 30 miles south-west of Mogadishu, and died when fighters from the al-Shabaab extremist movement detonated a car bomb minutes after the raid began on 6 November, the official said. A Somali intelligence officer who works with the US-trained Somali ‘Danab’ special forces unit in Lower Shabelle said: ‘Our officers were supported by the US officers. We flew at 2am that night. The soldiers disembarked from the chopper and went on foot in the bush before a huge explosion went off and killed the American friend and four of our [Somali] officers.'”

The UK-based newspaper added that “Somali officials said the operation was launched following information that three senior al-Shabaab commanders would be in Gendershe that night. Among them was Abdullahi Osman Mohamed, an expert bomb-maker believed to be responsible for many of the powerful devices that have killed hundreds of civilians in Somalia in recent years…. But the Gendershe raid was a failure. After a 40-minute firefight, the US and Somali forces withdrew. ‘The operation was not successful. We did not get them,’ a second Somali officer said.”

The Guardian also cited al Shabaab commanders: “Al-Shabaab sources confirmed the clash, and claimed they had ambushed the US and Somali forces after learning of the operation in advance. ‘American soldiers accompanied by Somali forces raided an al-Shabaab base in Gendershe. We had received intelligence that they were coming. We were ready and a fierce gun battle broke out. A number of officers were killed including the CIA officer,’ Abu Mohamed, an al-Shabaab commander in Lower Shabelle, told the Guardian.”

The incident occured at approximately 4:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (18) [ collapse]

  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Gear and body parts of soldiers killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Gandarshe (غندرشي), for which the coordinates are: 1.8349369, 44.9668452. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM321

Incident date

October 18, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.7928186, 43.3841839 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike targeted an Al Shabaab member in Jilib, AFRICOM confirmed via email to Airwars.

The response reads: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jilib, Somalia on Oct. 18 targeting one al-Shabaab terrorist. The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike yielded no death or injuries of AS terrorist(s). U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

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
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jilib, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jilib, Somalia on Oct. 18 targeting one al-Shabaab terrorist. The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike yielded no death or injuries of AS terrorist(s). U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

Summary

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

Incident Code

USSOM320

Incident date

October 6, 2020

Location

Weelshit, Gedo, Somalia

Geolocation

3.11895, 46.39165 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

An unidentified airstrike allegedly killed ten or eleven Al Shabaab members in Weelshit.

Strategic Intelligence wrote: “Unidentified aerial strike at 1145pm on 06.10.2020 killed 10 Terrorist who are members of the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab al Mujahideen alongside their operations commander.”

It added: “The blitz in Weelshit, Gedo targeted Shabaab al Mujahideen terrorists temporary surveillance and reconnaissance output approximately 10 km north of Daresalam village which lies 20 km South East of Konton where Kenya Army AMISOM contingent has an FOB. The terrorist organization had set up the outpost to mirror and subsequently threaten the Forward Operating Base.

Among those killed in the airstrike include Shabaab’s chief Zakat collector in Gedo Maalim Yussuf mohamud Digale.”

In the headline of the news piece it says that 11 people were killed.

The incident occured at 11:45 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–11

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Weelshit, allegedly 10km north of Daresalam. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Daresalam are: 3.11895, 46.39165.

  • Reports of the incident mention the village of Weelshit, allegedly 10km north of Daresalam.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    10–11

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM319a

Incident date

September 21, 2020

Location

Jana Cabdalle, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike targeted a vehicle in Jana Cabdalle, AFRICOM confirmed to Airwars via email.

The Africa Command stated: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jana Cabdalle, Somalia on Sept. 21 to prevent a military vehicle from being commandeered by al-Shabaab terrorists.

The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike destroyed one already damaged military vehicle that was being scavenged by al-Shabaab members.

U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

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
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Jana Cabdalle, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.02819, 42.287022. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike in Jana Cabdalle, Somalia on Sept. 21 to prevent a military vehicle from being commandeered by al-Shabaab terrorists.
The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike destroyed one already damaged military vehicle that was being scavenged by al-Shabaab members.
U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

Summary

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

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

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.

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
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed 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.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Under investigation
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • 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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]