US Forces in Somalia

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

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

Incident Code

USSOM303

Incident date

April 5, 2020

Location

مبارك, Mubarak, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.9172773, 44.7731843 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Eight Al Shabaab militants were allegedly killed by three US strikes near Mubaraak.

The AFRICOM press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Mubaraak, Somalia, Apr. 5.

The command’s initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed eight (8) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

SONNA provided the same death toll but said only one strike was conducted: “On the 5th of April 2020,the Federal Government of Somalia, in partnership with the United

States Africa Command (AFRICOM), conducted an airstrike against Al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Mubarak, Somalia.

This precision airstrike killed eight (8) Al-Shabaab, terrorists.”

The victim number has been reflected in USSOM302.

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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Mubarak (مبارك) village, for which the generic coordinates are: 1.9172773, 44.7731843. 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
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Mubaraak, Somalia, Apr. 5.

"Security is a pre-requisite for economic growth and development; U.S. Africa Command assists Somalia and other African nations in building capable and professional militaries every single day," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "To help Africa achieve its potential requires military assistance and that is what the U.S. affords our African partners."

The command's initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed eight (8) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

“As the world works to contain COVID-19, it is important our partners recognize we continue to be committed to the security progress in Somalia and will continue to disrupt al-Shabaab's terrorist activities," said Castellanos. "This is a responsibility that AFRICOM takes very seriously."

U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires providing programs and opportunity for the Somali people.

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 and Somali National Army forces. Together with the partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development.

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

Summary

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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM302

Incident date

April 5, 2020

Location

مبارك, Mubarak, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.9172773, 44.7731843 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Eight Al Shabaab militants were allegedly killed by three US strikes near Mubaraak.

The AFRICOM press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Mubaraak, Somalia, Apr. 5.

The command’s initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed eight (8) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

SONNA provided the same death toll but said only one strike was conducted: “On the 5th of April 2020,the Federal Government of Somalia, in partnership with the United

States Africa Command (AFRICOM), conducted an airstrike against Al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Mubarak, Somalia.

This precision airstrike killed eight (8) Al-Shabaab, terrorists.”

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
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Mubarak (مبارك) village, for which the generic coordinates are: 1.9172773, 44.7731843. 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
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Mubaraak, Somalia, Apr. 5.

"Security is a pre-requisite for economic growth and development; U.S. Africa Command assists Somalia and other African nations in building capable and professional militaries every single day," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "To help Africa achieve its potential requires military assistance and that is what the U.S. affords our African partners."

The command's initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed eight (8) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

“As the world works to contain COVID-19, it is important our partners recognize we continue to be committed to the security progress in Somalia and will continue to disrupt al-Shabaab's terrorist activities," said Castellanos. "This is a responsibility that AFRICOM takes very seriously."

U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires providing programs and opportunity for the Somali people.

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 and Somali National Army forces. Together with the partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development.

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

Summary

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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM301

Incident date

April 3, 2020

Location

Bush Madina, Bay, Libya

Geolocation

3.02558, 43.650749 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Five Al Shabaab members were reportedly killed by a US strike near Bush Madina.

The AFRICOM press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Bush Madina, Somalia, April 3.

The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed five (5) terrorists.

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

SONNA wrote: “The Federal Government of Somalia, in partnership with the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of near Hawal barbar, Somalia.

This precision airstrike killed three (5) al-Shabaab terrorists and reduced one (1) compound The FGS and the US AFRICOM take significant measures to prevent civilian casualties in the fight against the al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist puppet al-Shabaab and investigate each reported allegation thoroughly. At this time, no civilians are assessed to have been killed or injured in the attack.”

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
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Bush Madina village, for which the generic coordinates are: 3.02558, 43.650749. 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
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM300

Incident date

April 2, 2020

Location

Bush Madina, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

3.02558, 43.650749 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Three Al Shabaab fighters were allegedly killed in a US airstrike near Bush Madina.

The AFRICOM press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Bush Madina, Somalia, April 2.

The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed three (3) terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

The Somali Ministry of Information said: “On 02 April 2020, the FGS, in partnership with the US Africa Command, conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Bush Madina, Somalia. This precision airstrike killed three (3) AS terrorists and reduced one (1) compound.”

AFRICOM later provided details on a high-profile targeted allegedly killed in the strike: “U.S. Africa Command post-strike assessments confirm that one of the three terrorists killed in the command’s Apr. 2 precision airstrike was a long-standing, high-ranking leader in the al-Shabaab terrorist organization.

The terrorist, Yusuf Jiis, was one of the foundational members of the terrorist group and held many significant positions that facilitated al-Shabaab’s violent and harmful activities throughout East Africa.”

Garowe revealed details on another target: “According to multiple police sources, Yonis Sheikh Dahir was one of the three victims of Bush Madina raid, about 135 miles West of Mogadishu, where they had been coordinating Al-Shabaab activities.

Dahir, reports indicate, was a counterintelligence operative, and has been holding several high ranking positions within the Al-Shabaab, including the chief explosive commander in Southern Somalia.”

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
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Bush Madina village, for which the generic coordinates are: 3.02558, 43.650749. 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
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (6) [ collapse]

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

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.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • 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
    2

Sources (8) [ 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.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected 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
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • 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
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM298a-C

Incident date

March 17–18, 2020

Location

Beerta Xassan Huutaan, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.176352, 45.150204 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Between one and two civilians were allegedly killed in a US and Somali forces raid or airstrike on Beerta Xassan Huutaan near Afgoye.

The pro Al Shabaab outlet Halgan Media said: “Sources reveal US and Somali special forces raided a rural farming village outside the town of Afgoye in the Lower Shabelle province of Somalia. The joint unit shot and killed an elderly man, than abducted 8 other people that where whisked away in unmarked helicopters.”

It later added: “The elderly man that was shot and killed is 70 years old. He was executed during the raid while tending to his crops.”

Morad News tweeted: “At least 2 farmers killed incl 70 yr old man after Somali troops backed by US special forces attack farm village near Afgoye town in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. Residents in the farm village also say 8 other farmers have been abducted by the troops – Residents”

Kamal Hassan Hussein posted on Facebook that “eight people, including one of my aunt Abdulahi Ali Arale, were abducted on a farm about 5km from Afgoye, two days ago.” He added that aircraft and mortars were used.

Halgan Media said: “Local contacts based in the Lower Shabelle province have been able to confirm the identity of the victim. Whats more surprising is that the death tole has increased to a total of two as a result of the botch US led night raid. Sources have identified the elderly victim as Xassan Cuuke, a native of El Buur town in Central Somalia yet worked at a farming village in the Lower Shabelle province.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Supposed location of raid or airstrike in Beerta Xassan Huutaan around March 17th, 2020 (via Kamal Hassan Hussein)
  • Destruction after raid or airstrike on Beerta Xassan Huutaan around March 17th, 2020 (via Kamal Hassan Hussein)

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Somalia Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM298

Incident date

March 15–17, 2020

Location

Vicinity of Janaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Several days after the events, US Africa Command press released that it had conducted five airstrikes in the vicinity of Janaale during March 16th-17th. Somali state media and government reported the same strikes but said they took place on March 15th-16th.

AFRICOM said the actions were in support of ground operations by Somalia forces, while noting that “U.S. forces were in the area when these airstrikes occurred in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces.”

Unusually, the US gave no enemy casualty figures for the strikes – while noting that “These precision airstrikes targeted members of the al-Qaida-aligned terrorist network as they massed and maneuvered in the vicinity of an ongoing Somali-led ground operation.”

Sonna state media – citing the Ministry of Information – gave slightly different information. It said the attacks had taken place on March 15th-16th – a day earlier. It also stated that “the strikes left several al-Shabaab members killed and significantly reduced the group’s ability to conduct operations against SNA and AMISOM forces in Janale effectively.”

Airwars has set the minimum casualty range at two for this and each of the other four events during the battle for Janaale – and will update as more accurate information becomes available.

The strikes came during a major ground operation by the SNA and AMISOM, supported by US troops, to capture Janaale from the terror group al Shabaab. Early reports made no mention of the US role, focusing instead on the actions of Somali and Ugandan troops.

Halgan Media gave the following description of the battle: “Six unmarked helicopters were spotted hovering over the town of Janaale shortly before the assault began. A joint contingent of Somali, US and AMISOM forces stationed nearby later began the ground assault.

“The joint contingent were traveling in 47 [vehicles] while in route to the Al Shabaab controlled town of Janaale according to sources. Upon reaching the periphery of the town, the Somali and allied Foreign forces came under heavy fire from Al Shabaab militants, sparking fierce clashes. The coalition forces where able to withstand the hail of Al Shabaab bullets and penetrate the Militants line of defense. The Somali, US, and AMISOM forces entered the town of Janaale shortly after the clashes.

“Upon entering the town a military convoy carrying the coalition forces struck a roadside bomb.  Per sources the vehicle was severely damaged and engulfed in flames. The casualties from that blast still remain unknown. The armed group Al Shabaab withdrew from the town shortly after the encounter, as the strategic town of Janaale fell to coalition forces. The expulsion of Al Shabaab from Janaale comes five years after Militants previously overran the town after killing dozens of Ugandan troops.”

AFRICOM later said it had killed 15 Al Shabaab militants in the strikes. The number is reflected across the five incidents for the strikes.

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
    3

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Statement from the Somali Ministry of Information on the operation to capture Janaale, March 16th 2020
  • Via The Intercept

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

As part of an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army operation, and in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted five airstrikes against al-Shabaab terrorists near Janaale, Somalia, March 16-17.

These precision airstrikes targeted members of the al-Qaida-aligned terrorist network as they massed and maneuvered in the vicinity of an ongoing Somali-led ground operation.

"We protect and remain committed to our partners - plain and simple," said Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "We eliminated terrorists posing a direct and immediate threat, allowing our African partners to maintain the momentum on the ground."

Somali security forces continue to lead operations alongside AMISOM forces to increase security and seize ground from al-Shabaab.

Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

U.S. forces were in the area when these airstrikes occurred in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces.

U.S. Africa Command continues to support the Government of Somalia by strengthening its security forces and promoting regional security, stability and prosperity. Al-Shabaab continues to conduct attacks in East Africa and will continue to threaten American and western interests in the region.

Concurrently, the command is building enduring relationships and strategic alliances in East Africa necessary to address future challenges and malign activity by near-peer competitors.

The U.S., by virtue of our capabilities, influence, and credibility, is uniquely postured to support Somali efforts and counter violent extremist threats.

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
    3

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM297

Incident date

March 15–17, 2020

Location

Vicinity of Janaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Several days after the events, US Africa Command press released that it had conducted five airstrikes in the vicinity of Janaale during March 16th-17th. Somali state media and government reported the same strikes but said they took place on March 15th-16th.

AFRICOM said the actions were in support of ground operations by Somalia forces, while noting that “U.S. forces were in the area when these airstrikes occurred in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces.”

Unusually, the US gave no enemy casualty figures for the strikes – while noting that “These precision airstrikes targeted members of the al-Qaida-aligned terrorist network as they massed and maneuvered in the vicinity of an ongoing Somali-led ground operation.”

Sonna state media – citing the Ministry of Information – gave slightly different information. It said the attacks had taken place on March 15th-16th – a day earlier. It also stated that “the strikes left several al-Shabaab members killed and significantly reduced the group’s ability to conduct operations against SNA and AMISOM forces in Janale effectively.”

Airwars has set the minimum casualty range at two for this and each of the other four events during the battle for Janaale – and will update as more accurate information becomes available.

The strikes came during a major ground operation by the SNA and AMISOM, supported by US troops, to capture Janaale from the terror group al Shabaab. Early reports made no mention of the US role, focusing instead on the actions of Somali and Ugandan troops.

Halgan Media gave the following description of the battle: “Six unmarked helicopters were spotted hovering over the town of Janaale shortly before the assault began. A joint contingent of Somali, US and AMISOM forces stationed nearby later began the ground assault.

“The joint contingent were traveling in 47 [vehicles] while in route to the Al Shabaab controlled town of Janaale according to sources. Upon reaching the periphery of the town, the Somali and allied Foreign forces came under heavy fire from Al Shabaab militants, sparking fierce clashes. The coalition forces where able to withstand the hail of Al Shabaab bullets and penetrate the Militants line of defense. The Somali, US, and AMISOM forces entered the town of Janaale shortly after the clashes.

“Upon entering the town a military convoy carrying the coalition forces struck a roadside bomb.  Per sources the vehicle was severely damaged and engulfed in flames. The casualties from that blast still remain unknown. The armed group Al Shabaab withdrew from the town shortly after the encounter, as the strategic town of Janaale fell to coalition forces. The expulsion of Al Shabaab from Janaale comes five years after Militants previously overran the town after killing dozens of Ugandan troops.”

AFRICOM later said it had killed 15 Al Shabaab militants in the strikes. The number is reflected across the five incidents for the strikes.

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
    3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Statement from the Somali Ministry of Information on the operation to capture Janaale, March 16th 2020
  • Via The Intercept

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

As part of an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army operation, and in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted five airstrikes against al-Shabaab terrorists near Janaale, Somalia, March 16-17.

These precision airstrikes targeted members of the al-Qaida-aligned terrorist network as they massed and maneuvered in the vicinity of an ongoing Somali-led ground operation.

"We protect and remain committed to our partners - plain and simple," said Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "We eliminated terrorists posing a direct and immediate threat, allowing our African partners to maintain the momentum on the ground."

Somali security forces continue to lead operations alongside AMISOM forces to increase security and seize ground from al-Shabaab.

Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

U.S. forces were in the area when these airstrikes occurred in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces.

U.S. Africa Command continues to support the Government of Somalia by strengthening its security forces and promoting regional security, stability and prosperity. Al-Shabaab continues to conduct attacks in East Africa and will continue to threaten American and western interests in the region.

Concurrently, the command is building enduring relationships and strategic alliances in East Africa necessary to address future challenges and malign activity by near-peer competitors.

The U.S., by virtue of our capabilities, influence, and credibility, is uniquely postured to support Somali efforts and counter violent extremist threats.

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
    3

Sources (8) [ collapse]