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

USSOM311

Incident date

July 21, 2020

Location

Timirshe, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

10.56245, 50.42396 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Seven ISIS fighters were killed by a US airsrtrike near Timirshe, according to AFRICOM.

The press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against ISIS-Somalia terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Timirshe, Somalia, July 21. Timirshe is located 140 kilometers southeast of Bosasso.

At this time, it is assessed this airstrike killed seven (7) ISIS-Somalia terrorists.

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

Radio Dalsan said eight ISIS members were killed and two vehicles destroyed.

The strike was conducted in support of the Puntland Security Forces, according to Real Clear Defense: “Local reporting has said that the PSF engaged in a multi-hour gunfight with the ISS militants, which led to the supporting U.S. airstrike.”

After an exchange on Twitter with Rita Katz, AFRICOM conceded that one partner force sustained in injury in the incident, after initially claiming it had not.

Halgan Media later published details about one of the ISIS members killed in the operation: “The Somali-ISIS faction has released a statement of admission revealing one of there senior figures Khalid Jama Mohamed, better known as Abu Osama Al-Muhajir was killed in a US drone strike in the Bari province of Northeast Somalia.

The statement by Somalia’s Islamic State faction stated that the now, deceased Abu Osama Al-Muhajir was key figure in the Somali-ISIS faction, prior to his death.

Abu Osama Al-Muhajir was said to be of Pakistani orgin and was a former member of Al Shabaab’s media branch prior to defecting to the Somali-ISIS faction.”

Garowe said that the incident took place in the Golis Mountains and provided further information: “In addition, the Puntland forces confirmed that over 20 militants were killed following an airstrike and subsequent ground combat.”

The outlet added: “During the operation, Puntland said, two trucks and several explosives were seized by ground forces, with several other militants also surrendering to the security teams.”

It is unclear whether US special forces supported the operation on the ground and to what extent the Puntland Security Forces are supported by the US.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–8
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Screenshot of ISIS media outlet mourning the death of Abu Osama Al-Muhajir, allegedly killed by a US airstrike near Timirshe on July 22nd, 2020 (via Puntland Mirror)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Timirshe. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Timirshe are: 10.56245, 50.42396.

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 an airstrike against ISIS-Somalia terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Timirshe, Somalia, July 21. Timirshe is located 140 kilometers southeast of Bosasso.

"We continue to apply pressure on terrorist groups and assist our Somali partners in disrupting their operations," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, AFRICOM. "We continue our support to rid Somalia of the likes of ISIS and al-Shabaab."

At this time, it is assessed this airstrike killed seven (7) ISIS-Somalia terrorists.

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

When this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the area in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces. Terrorist groups continue to resort to the tradecraft of terror and propaganda in an effort to intimidate the local populace.

"Mistruths and lies are the terrorist weapons of choice," said Col. Chris Karns, director of public affairs, AFRICOM. "ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab have bankrupt narratives and visions of the future. Our partnership to unmask and degrade the capability of these terrorists is essential to security and stability in Somalia."

U.S. Africa Command continues to support the Government of Somalia by strengthening its security forces and promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity. Concurrently, the command is building enduring relationships and strategic alliances in East Africa to address looming challenges and malign activity by near-peer competitors.

The U.S continues to provide support to Somali efforts and counter violent extremist threats. The challenges in Africa will require African and international solutions. U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with our African partners.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–8
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM310

Incident date

July 9, 2020

Location

Vicinity of Hantiwadaag, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.88721, 44.7789 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

The Somali government and US Africa Command declared the first US action in 53 days, reporting an airstrike on an al Shabaab checkpoint in the vicinity of Hantiwadaag, in Lower Shabelle. One alleged militant was reported killed.

Declaring the attack, Somalia’s Ministry of Information said the strike had taken place in the afternoon. “The FGS, in partnership with the US Africa Command @USAfricaCommand conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Hantiwadaag in Lower Shabelle , Somalia. This precision airstrike killed one al-Shabaab militant.”

AFRICOM followed with its own press release shortly afterwards, noting that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab checkpoint in vicinity of Hantiwadaag, Somalia, July 9. ‘Al-Shabaab are using checkpoints to threaten, extort and restrict the movement of innocent people in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle region,’ said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. ‘Al-Shabaab’s actions continue to impede much needed economic development and progress.’

“The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist and destroyed an al-Shabaab checkpoint. U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

After an initially intense US campaign against terror group al Shabaab in early 2020, US strikes had effectively halted in mid May, likely as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a checkpoint being struck in the vicinity of Hantiwadaag, within the Lower Shabelle region. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Hantiwadaag are: 1.88721, 44.7789.

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 an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab checkpoint in vicinity of Hantiwadaag, Somalia, July 9.

“Al-Shabaab are using checkpoints to threaten, extort and restrict the movement of innocent people in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle region,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “Al-Shabaab’s actions continue to impede much needed economic development and progress.”

The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed one (1) terrorist and destroyed an al-Shabaab checkpoint.

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

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.

Together and at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command works to improve security conditions in Somalia in order to enhance governance and economic development. U.S. partnership with Somalia also helps prevent al-Shabaab's ambitions to expand their reach, plot attacks, and further export violence.

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
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM309-C

Incident date

May 17, 2020

Location

حرمك, Near Kunya Barrow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Six civilians were allegedly injured after a US airstrike near Kunya Barrow.

Somali Memo, a news outlet close to Al Shabaab, said: “Last night, Drone planes bombed a civilian residence in the town of Kunya Barrow.

Sources say several missiles hit the home and injure four civilians, including a mother and three children. The injured are recovering in a local hospital.”

Later Somali Memo updated the number to six.

Morad News tweeted: “BREAKING: Suspected #US drone strike reported in #AlShabaab-controlled town of Kunya-Barrow overnight. Several people injured including women and children – Witnesses. #Somalia”

AFRICOM stated in its press release: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, May 17.

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

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

In its civilian casualty assessment third quarter report AFRICOM said the incident was currently under review.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (20) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Picture of an alleged victim of US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Picture of an alleged victim of US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Picture of an alleged victim of US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Building allegedly damaged by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Injury allegedly sustained from US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow (حرمك), for which, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The coordinates for Kunya Barrow are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known 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
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • May 18, 2020, USAFRICOM received five allegations from an online media source and social media accounts claiming either five (5) or six (6) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on May 17, 2020.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces


In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, May 17.
“The U.S. support to our Somali partners is and will remain strong,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command.
The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed two (2) terrorists.
U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
“U.S. Africa Command affords our partners over-watch and added precision capabilities,” said Col. Christopher Karns, director of public affairs, U.S. Africa Command. “This enemy has no regard for the lives of innocent Somalis and the group presents a threat to the Somali people, the U.S., and interests abroad.”
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 a range of 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 while preventing al-Shabaab's desire to expand their reach and further export violence.
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, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM308-C

Incident date

May 13, 2020

Location

Araboow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Between one or two civilians were allegedly injured in US or Kenyan airstrike on Araboow.

Halgan Media reported: “A series of blasts rocked a rural town of Araboow overnight in Somalia’s Middle Jubba province. The blasts said to be a result of a barrage of missiles fired down on the Militant controlled town.

Sources that spoke with Halgan Media revealed US drones launched 10 simultaneous strikes targeting the town of Araboow. The strikes are said to have hit three mini buses parked at a transit junction in the town.

Two civilians where confirmed to have been wounded in the indiscriminate aerial bombardment, while three mini buses where nearly obliterated and almost unrecognizable following the strikes.

The civilians in the mini buses targeted in the strike are said to have departed the capital Mogadishu and where traveling to the Kenyan occupied Northern Frontier District (NFD). The group than stopped in the town of Araboow to break there fast for ‘iftar’ when they where besieged by US droned according to sources.”

Somali Memo said one civilian was injured and added that the strike could have been conducted by Kenya or the US.

AFRICOM denied conducting a strike on Twitter, which it reiterated in an email to Airwars.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (7) [ collapse]

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed 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

United States Armed Forces
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • May 12, 2020, (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming an unspecified number of civilians were killed as a result of a suspected U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Araboow, Somalia, on May 11, 2020. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or at the alleged location.

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM307b

Incident date

May 11, 2020

Location

Haway, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.1682, 43.71413 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

One Al Shabaab member was allegedly killed in a US strike on Haway.

The Horn Observer wrote: “A separate airstrike in Haway neighbourhood in Lower Shabelle region targeted another camp where the militant had gathered on Monday.

Local sources and Mogadishu-based intel officers have told Horn Observer that Mustaf Ato, the special adviser of al-Shabaab’s Emir had been killed in this airstrike.

There are no any confirmation from al-Shabaab and neither its propaganda media acknowledged the double airstrikes on Monday.”

There is currently no further information available.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • 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
    1

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes on a camp in the vicinity of Haway, for which the generic coordinates are: 1.1682, 43.71413. 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
    Single source claim
  • 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
    1

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM307a

Incident date

May 11, 2020

Location

Jamaame, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.06916, 42.738201 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Several Al Shabaab members were allegedly killed by a US airstrike on Jamaame.

The Horn Observer said: “Two mid level al-Shabaab officials are among several killed after a suspected U.S airstrikes targeted the group’s strongholds in Jamame and in Haway in the country’s southern regions of Lower Jubba and Lower Shabelle on Monday.

According to security sources, the airstrike targeted a meeting by the al-Qaeda-linked militant group in a training camp in Jamame.

‘The militants had recently concluded training in which they were preparing a unit of fighters to conduct surveillance and attack Bar Sanguni near Kismayo,’ the security source told Horn Observer.

Among those killed is a mid level officer and member of the group’s executive council identified as ‘Yusuf’.”

There is currently no further information available.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–5

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes on strongholds in the vicinity of Jamaame town, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.06916, 42.738201. 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
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–5

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM307-C

Incident date

April 10, 2020

Location

Kamsuuma, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.249699, 42.780173 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

One elderly civilian, claimed by al Shabaab to be a tribal elder, was allegedly killed by a US airstrike in Kamsuuma. The US later pushed back heavily against the claim, insisting the victim was a terrorist.

AFRICOM initially described the action – which it said killed one al Shabaab fighter – as a response to US and partner forces coming under fire on the ground, noting “a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force.”

Local media – some with pro Shabaab leanings – claimed the victim of the strike was a civilian. Halgan Media reported: “Confirmed reports reaching the Halgan Media service desk reveal suspected US drones bombed the Al Shabaab controlled town of Kabsumma in the Lower Jubba province of Somalia. Local media reports surfacing from Somalia’s Jubba Valley reveal unmanned drones fired a series of missiles on the town, which fatally struck a motorist. It’s being revealed the motorist died instantly in the drone strike. The victim has been identified as a local clan elder named Abbas Mohamed Haji. It’s not clear at the moment whether there are any more victims from the strike.”

Morad News said: “Reports of US drone strike in the outskirt of Kabsuuma town in Somalia’s Lower Jubba region. Prominent clan elder, Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, Suldan of Jareerwene clan killed while riding on his motorbike”

AFRICOM itself declared two strikes in the area on April 9th and 10th: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force, near Kobon, Somalia, Apr. 9. The command also conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Apr. 10. The command’s initial assessment concluded the Apr. 9 airstrike killed ten (10) terrorists and that the Apr. 10 airstrike killed one (1) terrorist. U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

The press release of the Somali Ministry of Information revealed more on the location of the April 9th strike, which it said was conducted “in the vicinity of Koban between Jammaamme and Jilib Districts.” Kamsuuma is located between those two.

AFRICOM later overtly refuted claims of civilian harm in a detailed statement issued five days after the attack: “Immediately prior to the airstrike, this al-Shabaab terrorist displayed the murdered bodies of Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in a village. Following this act of coercion and intimidation, the al-Shabaab terrorist departed the village. Once isolated in a remote and secluded area, the terrorist was killed by an airstrike executed by the command in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia.

“‘This was no innocent civilian. This was a purposeful and heinous act. It was a war crime by an al-Shabaab terrorist who desecrated bodies to scare and intimidate innocent Somalis into submission,’ said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. ‘This terrorist posed with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background as Somalis of all ages were exposed to his gruesome public display.’

“One of the two outlets falsely reporting civilian casualties is al-Shabaab associated news affiliate SomaliMemo. Weakened by sustained military operations led by the SNA and AMISOM forces, al-Shabaab is increasingly relying on lies and propaganda, including releasing gruesome pictures of unverified civilian casualties, in an effort to grab media attention, as well as deceive the Somali public.”

AFRICOM later reiterated the statement: “Immediately prior to the strike, the al-Shabaab member displayed the murdered bodies of SNA soldiers, posing with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background. This was in an area where al-Shabaab had previously conducted executions and displayed deceased SNA soldiers. The al-Shabaab member then departed the village and the strike was conducted in a remote area where the effects were confirmed to be limited to the individual. 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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Morad News)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Halgan Media)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Halgan Media)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Halgan Media)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Morad News)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the vicinity of Kamsuuma, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.249699, 42.780173. 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
    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

United States Armed Forces
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • Apr 15, 2020
  • U.S Africa Command is aware of two news affiliates alleging an innocent civilian was killed as a result of the command’s precision airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on Apr. 10, 2020. These allegations are based on al-Shabaab propaganda and are false. The terrorist that was killed in the Apr. 10 airstrike was an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six innocent Somalis. Immediately prior to the airstrike, this al-Shabaab terrorist displayed the murdered bodies of Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in a village. Following this act of coercion and intimidation, the al-Shabaab terrorist departed the village. Once isolated in a remote and secluded area, the terrorist was killed by an airstrike executed by the command in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia. “This was no innocent civilian. This was a purposeful and heinous act. It was a war crime by an al-Shabaab terrorist who desecrated bodies to scare and intimidate innocent Somalis into submission,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. "This terrorist posed with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background as Somalis of all ages were exposed to his gruesome public display.” One of the two outlets falsely reporting civilian casualties is al-Shabaab associated news affiliate SomaliMemo. Weakened by sustained military operations led by the SNA and AMISOM forces, al-Shabaab is increasingly relying on lies and propaganda, including releasing gruesome pictures of unverified civilian casualties, in an effort to grab media attention, as well as deceive the Somali public.

  • April 11, 2020 (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received two allegations from an online media source and social media account claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on April 10, 2020. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On April 10, 2020 an airstrike was executed on an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers. Immediately prior to the strike, the al-Shabaab member displayed the murdered bodies of SNA soldiers, posing with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background. This was in an area where al-Shabaab had previously conducted executions and displayed deceased SNA soldiers. The al-Shabaab member then departed the village and the strike was conducted in a remote area where the effects were confirmed to be limited to the individual. 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

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force, near Kobon, Somalia, Apr. 9.
The command also conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Apr. 10.
Somali security forces continue to lead operations alongside African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces to increase security and seize ground from al-Shabaab.
"Our assistance continues to build on the gains our partners are making," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "The SNA and African partners on the ground keep hitting al-Shabaab hard, and it's having an effect on the al-Shabaab terror network."
The command's initial assessment concluded the Apr. 9 airstrike killed ten (10) terrorists and that the Apr. 10 airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.
U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.
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, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM306

Incident date

April 9, 2020

Location

جيليب, Kobon, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.035812, 42.709063 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Ten Al Shabaab members were reportedly killed by a US airstrike near Kobon.

AFRICOM stated in its press release: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force, near Kobon, Somalia, Apr. 9.

The command’s initial assessment concluded the Apr. 9 airstrike killed ten (10) terrorists and that the Apr. 10 airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.  U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

SONNA also confirmed the strike: “An additional strike was conducted April 10 targeting Al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia.It is assessed that the collective self-defense strike on April 9 killed ten (10) Al-Shabaab, terrorists and that the April 10 airstrike killed one (1) Al-Shabaab terrorist.”

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
    10

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Kobon village, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.035812, 42.709063. 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 a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force, near Kobon, Somalia, Apr. 9.
The command also conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Apr. 10.
Somali security forces continue to lead operations alongside African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces to increase security and seize ground from al-Shabaab.
"Our assistance continues to build on the gains our partners are making," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "The SNA and African partners on the ground keep hitting al-Shabaab hard, and it's having an effect on the al-Shabaab terror network."
The command's initial assessment concluded the Apr. 9 airstrike killed ten (10) terrorists and that the Apr. 10 airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.
U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.
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
    10

Sources (4) [ collapse]