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

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]

Incident Code

USSOM296

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]

Incident Code

USSOM295

Incident date

March 15–17, 2020

Location

Vicinity of Janaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.8349369, 44.9668452 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

USSOM294

Incident date

March 15–17, 2020

Location

Vicinity of Janaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.8349369, 44.9668452 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 announced it had killed 15 Al Shabaab member in 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

USSOM293-C

Incident date

March 10, 2020

Location

Near 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

Between four and six civilians were allegedly killed by a US airstrike near Janaale.

Morad News, reportedly close to Al Shabaab, tweeted: “US drone strike kills 4 civilians after bombing a minibus near Janaale town. 2 of the victims r members of a well known family in Mogadishu. An elderly man & driver are among the victims. GRAPHIC photos from scene of the drone strike published.”

Halgan Media wrote: “Many civilians where killed today in a US drone strike in Somalia. The Americans are more than likely to claim responsibility for the strike within the next 48 hours and I’m more than certain the victims, in this case which are women and children will be labeled as Terrorists.”

AFRICOM officially declared the strike, saying the victims were members of Al Shabaab: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia, Mar. 10. 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.”

On the allegations of civilian harm it added: “While we currently assess that this airstrike injured no civilians, we are aware of social media reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this strike. U.S. Africa Command complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions during the targeting process to minimize civilian casualties and other collateral damage. As with any allegation of civilian casualties, U.S. Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties, and take appropriate action based on the outcome of this review.”

According to Anadolu, “the U.S. African Command airstrike in the town of Janale in the lower Shabelle region killed at least six unarmed civilians who were traveling to the capital Mogadishu, Mahad Dhoore, a lawmaker from the Southwest state, told local media on Thursday.”

Al Jazeera added: “The victims were civilians travelling in a minibus heading to the capital Mogadishu, Abdullahi Abdirahman Ali, who lost his father in the air strike, said.
‘The Americans are lying. They killed my elderly father. He is 70 years old and can barely move. He can’t walk without the help of a walking stick. He is not al-Shabab,’ Abdullahi told Al Jazeera.

‘They killed these civilians because they know no one will take action against them,’ he added, anger palpable in his voice. One of the other victims was a 13-year-old boy, relatives said. Photos posted online show some of the bodies burned beyond recognition and the wreckage of a blood-soaked vehicle.

‘The minibus was going to Mogadishu. If the Americans suspected anything, they could have waited for them there. For them it is easier to kill civilians than to question them,’ Abdullahi added.”

The Intercept published a detailed investigation of the incident saying: “But Farhan Mahmoud Mohammed, a resident of Janaale who spoke to The Intercept by phone last Friday, told a different story.

Mohammed’s 13-year-old son Abdi Farhan Mahmoud was on his way to school when a U.S. missile struck a mini-bus taxi he was riding in. Mahmoud was decapitated in the strike, his father said. He could hardly bear to look at the boy’s charred face.

Another passenger in the minibus, 70-year-old Abdirahman Ali Waadhoor, was also killed in the attack, according to his son Abdullahi Abdirahman Ali. ‘My father is a disabled man. He never had a problem with anyone.’ said Ali, who lives in London and saw pictures of his father’s corpse on his phone. Asked how he felt when he saw the images, Ali replied: ‘That’s not my father. It’s only meat. Brown meat.'”

Human Rights Watch later received information about the victims and “found that at least 6 people were killed in the strike, including 3 men over age 55 and a 13-year-old boy, who were on their way home to Mogadishu and nearby Elasha Biyaha. No evidence was found of any links to Al-Shabab.

Human Rights Watch received unconfirmed information that two Al-Shabab fighters may have boarded the minibus in or near Ugunji. Their presence may have been the basis for the US strike against the bus. The attack may have been unlawfully disproportionate, depending on the military importance of the alleged Al-Shabab fighters.”

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

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (1 child4 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–5

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

  • Radio report on the incident
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Vehicle allegedly destroyed by a US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of an alleged US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Car supposedly destroyed by US strike near Janaale on March 10th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

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:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (1 child4 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–5

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM292

Incident date

March 10, 2020

Location

Bu'aale, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.251778, 42.575959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike targeted Al Shabaab in Bu’aale, according to local reporting.

Radio Kulmiye said: “Suspected US airstrikes targeted to Al-shabaab compounds in southern Somalia. The attacks destroyed vehicles, camps and killed militants.

According to Somali intelligence officials, the airstrikes carried by unidentified military planes targeted Jilib, Sakow and Bu’ale towns of Middle Jubba region, where Al-shabaab has an active presence and main bases.

At least 14 military vehicles have been destroyed and more militants were killed and wounded, an official told local media anonymously. One of those killed named Aindrus, an Al-shabaab Amniyad operative.”

Somaliweyn also reported shelling in area. However it is unclear from which forces it originated: “The shelling occurred in Jilib, Sakow, Buale, and Salagle districts of the Juba regions, with the shelling targeting al-Shabaab bases in those districts.

Somali government officials say al-Shabaab militants have been killed in the shelling.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Bu’aale, for which the coordinates are: 1.251778, 42.575959. 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

Somalia Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (2) [ collapse]