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

USSOM071

Incident date

May 4–5, 2017

Location

دار السلام, Andalus Radio, Darusalaam, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.924246, 44.783306 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

In the first confirmed US kinetic operation since President Trump designated Somalia an active war zone in March 2017, one US Navy serviceman was killed and two or three others injured during an operation against al Shabaab in Somalia on May 5th (local time), the first declared American service member death in combat in the country since 1993.

US forces were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army (SNA), according to US Africa Command.

Pentagon Spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said US Navy SEALs and their SNA partners were flown in by helicopter, but came under fire “in the early phase of the mission” after landing near an al Shabaab compound, the target of the mission. The compound was associated with attacks on nearby facilities used by both US and Somali forces, he said.

“We helped bring [the Somali soldiers] in with our aircraft, and we were there maintaining a distance back as they conducted the operation,” Davis said. “This was a Somali mission,” he stressed.

However, Brig. Gen. David J. Furness, the commander of the military’s task force for the Horn of Africa, said that the US and Somali forces were travelling in a single group when they were attacked.

According to Fox News, the target was Andalus Radio, reportedly an al-Shabab propaganda radio station, based in a farm village 40 miles west of Mogadishu. Somali sources told VOA that the village was Dar es Salam, located between the small towns of Barire and Mubarak, reportedly both of which were al Shabaab controlled and located in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.

Helicopters carried the Navy SEALs and the Somali Danab commando team from Ballidogle airport to a point near Barire, from which they continued to the target on foot, a Somali official told VOA. A small Somali ground force from the town of Afgoye was also sent to help, the official said.

Fox News said it appears the group were ambushed as they neared the radio station, with a Somalia official telling VOA that al-Shabab brought in reinforcements and encircled the approaching commandos.

“Al-Shabab later claimed it had been tipped off. It’s unclear if that was actually the case, as the Pentagon would not comment. Pictures purportedly taken by Andalus Radio in the aftermath of the battle and viewed by Fox News showed pools of blood on the ground, pressure bandages, a boot and tactical glove, and U.S. military equipment.

Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed, and two others were wounded. Navy SEAL Scott Taylor, now retired and a Republican congressman from Virginia, got a text message before the news went public about the loss of his friend and teammate. They had served together in Iraq.

‘I’ve known him and his family very well. He’s got two kids,’ Taylor told Fox News, ‘Kyle was a stellar operator. Very smart, witty and funny. Hard not to like.'”

Al Jazeera cited an al Shabaab source as claiming that more than one US serviceman was killed: “‘[The US soldiers] came in helicopters. Our Mujahideen fighters responded to the attack,” al-Shabab’s military operations spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Mus’ab told Al Jazeera. ‘We killed several American fighters. We also wounded many. We captured weapons from them too. They ran back to their helicopters.’ In the past, al-Shabab has exaggerated the number of soldiers it has killed during clashes.”

Milliken was the first U.S. service member to die in Somalia since the 1993 U.S. Army mission to capture a warlord led to the deaths of 19 U.S. Rangers and Delta Force special operators, two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters shot down – and the end of the international mission in Somalia. Years of anarchy were followed by the ascent of radical Islam.

The U.S. said the May raid was nevertheless a success because it “resulted in the death of three al-Shabab operatives, including Moalin Osman Abdi Badi,” a regional leader of the terror group. Somali officials said they seized radio station equipment.

For the Trump Administration, the operation was part of a renewed push in the region to establish footholds of stability where radical Islamist terrorism cannot flourish.”

Pentagon spokesman Davis said the threat was “quickly neutralized”. By this time Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken had however been killed. A US military official told VOA at least two other Navy SEALs and an interpreter were wounded. New York Times said two others were wounded, including the Somali-American interpreter.

A senior official in Lower Shabelle region reportedly said a raid on a building housing the radio station killed eight al Shabab fighters and radio station equipment was seized.

A Mogadishu-based security source told Reuters that US troops, alongside Somali forces, were hunting an al Shabaab commander identified as Abdirahman Mohamed Warsame, also known as Mahad Karate, near the Shabelle river. Another security source told them the raid took place in Darusalam village, where he was supposedly believed to be hiding.

Three al Shabaab operatives, including Moalin Osman Abdi Badil, a regional leader of the terror group, were killed, Somali officials said. This was confirmed by Davis, who reportedly said Badil was responsible for gathering information on troops movements in order to support attacks on Somali and African Union forces.

Various official US press releases said the attack took place on both May 4th and May 5th, which could be due to local time differences between Somalia and the US.

The incident occured at approximately 1:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • ABC News report
  • US Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine was killed by al Shabaab on May 4th-5th 2017 (Image via Military Times)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Darusalaam (دار السلام), for which the coordinates are: 1.9230721, 44.7868291. According to Fox News the target was ‘Andalus Radio’, an Al Shabab radio station. A structure that looks like a radio tower can be seen at these coordinates in northern Darusalaam: 1.924246, 44.783306. Sources report that the fighting took place near Andalus Radio, Airwars was unable to verify the location further.

  • Radio tower seen in Darusalaam in December 2017

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM144

Incident date

September 11, 2018

Location

مبارك, Mubaraak, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

In a US strike in Mubaraak, two al Shabaab militants were killed along with a combatant with US partner forces, a US statement asserted the following day. Members of al Shabaab and the partner forces were also left wounded.

US forces carried out a strike during a Somali partner forces-led operation against al­ Shabaab in the central Somali village of Mubaraak, west of the capital Mogadishu, Africa Command said in a press release:

“The US air strike was conducted against an enemy fighting position in self-defense after US and partner forces came under attack,” the press release stated. “We currently assess two terrorists were killed and one terrorist was wounded in the strike.”

AFRICOM said that it found no civilian casualties. During the operation however, one member of a partner force was killed and two others injured.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the village of Mubaraak (مبارك), for which the coordinates are: 1.9172773, 44.7731843. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

"U.S. forces conducted an airstrike during a Somali partner forces-led operation against al­ Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, September 11, 2018, in the central Somali village of Mubaraak, approximately 37 miles west of Mogadishu.

The U.S. airstrike was conducted against an enemy fighting position in self-defense after U.S. and partner forces came under attack. We currently assess two (2) terrorists were killed and one (1) terrorist was wounded in the strike. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.

No U.S. personnel were injured or killed and all are accounted for following this operation. One (1) partner force member was killed in the operation and two (2) were wounded in action."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM190

Incident date

February 6, 2019

Location

غندرشي, Gandarshe, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

US Africa Command reported that two days previously, it had carried out an airstrike “in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 6, 2019.”

AFRICOM reported that it “currently assesses the airstrike on February 6 killed 11 militants.”

It added that “at this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in either airstrike.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck on this date what it says were al Shabaab fighters, in the vicinity of Gandarshe.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    11

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia's increased efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in separate engagements in the last 48 hours. The first airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 6, 2019. U.S. Africa Command also conducted an airstrike in the vicinity of Bariire, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 7, 2019.

Encouraged and supported by the Federal Government of Somalia, precision airstrikes such as these support Somali security forces efforts to protect the Somali people from terrorism while creating opportunities for increased governance to take hold.

“The Federal Government of Somalia is placing persistent pressure on al-Shabaab and its’ affiliates, working to create conditions for enhanced security and stability,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. “They continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to degrading al-Shabaab.”

U.S. Africa Command currently assesses the airstrike on February 6 killed 11 militants.

U.S. Africa Command currently assesses the airstrike on February 7 killed four militants. This precision airstrike was executed after our Somali partners were engaged by al-Shabaab militants as they conducted an operation to disrupt al-Shabaab efforts to illegally tax and intimidate civilians in the area.

At this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in either airstrike.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    11

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM229

Incident date

May 26, 2019

Location

Golis Mountains, Puntland, Somalia

Geolocation

11.060894, 49.184169 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

The US military carried out a fresh airstrike targeting al Shabaab (rather than ISIS) in the Golis Mountains, according to a press release issued by US Africa Command.

The strike killed three al Shabaab fighters, AFRICOM asserted – saying that it currently assessed that no civilians had been harmed in the attack.

This marked the sixth declared strike that AFRICOM had carried out in the Golis Mountains – against both al Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia – in the last month.

“The last few days presented opportunities to successfully reduce terrorist influence and activity,” said US Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Huston, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command in a statement.

No additional public information is presently known about this event.

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 (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

In its own public reporting of airstrikes in northern Somalia, AFRICOM tends to cite only ‘the vicinity of the Golis Mountains’ – instead of the nearest settlement usually provided for elsewhere. The Golis Mountains extend from the border with Ethiopia into Somaliland, and then eastwards to Puntland. Given that both ISIS and Al Shabaab are reportedly present more in Puntland, or on the Puntland/Somaliland borders, it is likely this strike took place in that region. In this respect, and in combining the information available from sources of alleged militant activity in the South-west and South-east of Bosaso, and several mentions of Galgala, we have chosen a generic middle point, for which the coordinates are: 11.060894, 49.184169. Due to limited satellite imagery, and public reporting available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Combining the information available from sources of alleged militant activity in the South-west and South-east of Bosaso, and several mentions of Galgala, we have chosen a generic middle point.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

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

Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. airstrikes continue to target al-Shabaab, ISIS-Somalia
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on May 26, 2019.

By U.S. AFRICA COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, United States Africa CommandStuttgart, GermanyMay 27, 2019

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on May 26, 2019.
This is the sixth airstrike in the last month against ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab in the Golis Mountains.

“Airstrikes create additional time and space for continued incremental progress in Somalia,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Huston, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “The last few days presented opportunities to successfully reduce terrorist influence and activity.”

Precision airstrikes such as these support Somali security forces efforts to protect the Somali people from terrorism while creating opportunities for increased governance to take hold. The Golis Mountains are a known area for terrorist camps and ongoing fighting between the two terrorist groups.

At this time, it is assessed the airstrike killed three (3) militants.

Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike. Our process and procedures allow for additional information to inform post-strike analysis.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States. 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, AMISOM, and Somali National Army forces.

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 (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM184

Incident date

January 23, 2019

Location

جيليب, Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.494527, 42.777868 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

AFRICOM reported that the previous day it had “conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab militants near Jilib, Middle Juba Region, Somalia, on January 23, 2019.”

It also asserted that “at this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes.”

AFRICOM gave no figures on the number of belligerents killed. Associated Press confirmed the strikes and reported that AFRICOM “will no longer give details on fighters killed or damage done”, and claimed that future reporting of deaths and damages will remain at the discretion of the Somali Government.

Responding to an enquiry from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, AFRICOM stated: “We constantly review our reporting practices to ensure we provide the most pertinent information available that resonates with US and international audiences. This review includes an analysis of what resonates with media in its coverage of US Africa Command through our press releases and interviews.

“Because we are looking for better ways to communicate the strategic importance of our operations in support of our partners, we may not always lead with casualty numbers in our initial release. We also may be assessing the results of the strike and may not have complete information before we publish the press release. In those cases, we will provide casualty figures in response to query.”

The Washington Examiner was told that one militant died in the strikes [which Airwars has assigned to this event]: “‘We no longer discuss battle damage assessments resulting from our airstrikes,’ said Maj. Karl Wiest, a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, in response to an inquiry from the Washington Examiner. When pressed, Wiest said in a follow-up email that the U.S. assesses the Wednesday strikes killed one al-Shabaab militant. ‘While enemy casualties are an expected outcome of strike operations, the resulting number of EKIA [Enemy Killed in Action] is much less important to understand than how these strikes are helping our Somali partners achieve their strategic security objectives,’ Wiest added.”

This incident came after the deadliest airstrike in some time four days previously, which reportedly killed from 52 to 73 alleged belligerents.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck on this date what it says was an “al Shabaab named objective” near Jilib. It also listed an attack on an al Shabaab checkpoint near Jilib, which we list separately for this date.

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
    1

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the town Jilib (جيليب), for which the coordinates are: 0.494527, 42.777868. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

To support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. forces conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab militants near Jilib, Middle Juba Region, Somalia, on January 23, 2019.

U.S. Africa Command conducted the airstrikes to increase pressure on the al-Shabaab network and degrade its ability to plot and conduct operations.

At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes.

Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.

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
    1

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM254

Incident date

November 3, 2019

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

Local media reported targeted strikes by an undeclared belligerent on the town of Bu’ale, which were said to have killed and injured senior named al Shabaab figures.

According to Goobjoog News, “Reports indicate on the airstrike raid in Bay and Middle Juba region last night targeted Al Shabab base located in the area bulla falay which results of various losses. The shelling [was] followed by direct fighting between the National Army forces and Al Shabaab militants, and it is not yet known how far casualties have affected both sides.”

Mareeg News gave more details: “A fighter jet has carried out an air strike targeting a training camp runs by Shebab, al Qaeda affiliated group in Bu’alle town in Middle Juba region of Somalia. It is unclear who carried out the bombing, but US military surged its airstrikes against Al Shabaab and Islamic State groups in Somalia.

“The air attack killed several militants, including Sheikh Dahir Gacmey, the group’s governor for the Middle Juba region, a source said. He says ex groups governor for the region, Sheikh Hussein Filow was also seriously injured in the bombing.”

Asked whether it had been responsible for this event, in February 2020 a senior AFRICOM official told Airwars that this was not the case. However, this may not preclude actions by the CIA which conducts its own undeclared strikes in Somalia.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–4

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the town Bu’aale (or Bulla Falay/Bu’alle), for which the coordinates are: 1.251778, 42.575959. Due to limited information and satellite imagery 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

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
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–4

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM282-C

Incident date

February 24, 2020

Location

the Masalanja farm near the village of Kumbareere, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.577719, 42.717772 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

The US declared on the same date an airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib – which it said had killed “one terrorist.” However local sources, some pro al Shabaab, said the victim was in fact Mohamud Haji Sirad, a director of the Hormud telecoms company for Middle Juba.

According to the Somali Guardian Mr Sirad was in his early 50s [or early 60s according to others]. It said Hormud had confirmed his death and had sent condolences to his family. A statement issued by the telecoms company insisted Mr Salad was a civilian with no connection with any militant organisation.

Morad News – a generally pro Shabaab site – reported via Twitter that “#US drone strike kills director of #Somalia’s @Hormuud telecommunications company in Middle Juba region, Mohamud Haji Sirad – Residents. Mohamud, who’s in his 50s, was inside his farm near #Jilib town during the drone strike according to witnesses.”

According to Morad, the following day “Hundreds of #Jilib residents gather for funeral and burial of Mahamud Haji Salad, a prominent businessman & director of #Somalia’s  @Hormuud telecom company in Middle Juba region, who was killed in a #US drone strike inside his farm near #Jilib town yesterday.”

Both Reuters and Voice of America cited Hormud officials as insisting that Mr Sirad was innocent: “Somalia’s biggest telecommunications company says one of its employees was killed a U.S. airstrike Monday near the al-Shabab-held town of Jilib, Middle Jubba region,” noted VOA.

“Spokesperson for the company Adnan Haji Ali said the head of the company’s office in Jilib was killed on his farm. The company identified the man as Mohamud Haji Salad, the Manager of Hormud telecommunications branch in Jilib town. ‘We confirm that this man was our employee,’ says Ali. ‘He had nothing to do with any group or organization.'”

Reuters noted: “‘Mr. Salad was highly respected among his colleagues and a valued member of the Hormuud team. He had a strong work ethic and he was known to be a good father to his children,’ Hormuud Chief Operating Officer Abdirashid Ali said in a statement.” The news agency also noted that Hormud employees and infrastructure had come under recent attack from US, Kenyan and al Shabaab forces.

Garowe Online reported: “Hormuud Telecom said the slain manager, Mahamud Haji Sirad was a “diligent” worker who coordinated the company’s activity within Middle Juba, the company said. ‘We are appalled that such airstrikes are targeting civilians,’ the company said in a statement. ‘He was our director within Middle Juba and has no links with Al-Shabaab.’ Family sources said the slain director was leaving his farm when the drone dropped, killing him instantly and on the site. Meanwhile, Somali State media reported on Monday that the man killed in the American military operation was a ‘terrorist’.”

In April 2020, Amnesty International published a case study of the airstrike, writing that 53-year-old “Mohamud Salad Mohamud was a prominent businessman, banana farmer, and the Hormuud Telecommunication Company’s Jilib office manager. He left behind eight children and a wife.”

Mohamud’s younger brother, Abdiaziz Salad Mohamud, told Amnesty that he met his brother at the Hormuud office in Jilib on the day of his death. Abdiaziz stated that his brother told him that “he was in good health after his visit to Mogadishu and that he was planning to go and see his Masalanja farm later that day.”

It was around 3:45 PM when Abdiaziz heard the sound of a blast coming from the farm’s direction. Two planes had allegedly been hovering over the town that day. Abdiaziz: “My other brother Faysal [Salad Mohamud] and I called the only worker on the farm and asked him what happened, he said they were under attack, he was hiding and could not see Mohamud.”

Abdiaziz and Faysal reportedly took a motorbike and rushed to the farm. “When we arrived at the farm, we saw blood all over the place, especially near the irrigation canal and near the banana trees. His body was cut into pieces. I recognized his face and his left leg. I collected the pieces of his body parts and flesh and put them into a sack. It was just shocking. Two planes were still hovering over us as I collected the remains of his body.”

Amnesty International’s weapons experts identified fragments of an American AGM-114 Hellfire missile in an analysis of a video of the site – suggesting a strike by Reaper drone.

Two senior officials at Hormuud, the telecoms company Mohamud worked for since 2006, told Amnesty that the victim was not a member of Al Shabaab and was in fact arrested three times by the insurgent group for not complying with their orders. One of the officials stated: “I was travelling back from Lower Shabelle that afternoon when I heard the news of his death, I thought he was killed by Al-Shabaab. I never imagined he would be killed by the US or by the Somalia government.”

Abdiaziz Haji Salad told Al Jazeera about his brother: “[Mohamud] was a very generous man. Always ready to help those who had less than him. More than 40 people depended on him.”

Salad said it is unclear to him why the US forces did not arrest his brother, as they have a base in Mogadishu: “Why did they not arrest him when he was in Mogadishu if what they are saying is true? He was in Mogadishu for 30 days working. […] He is well known and often travelled to government-controlled areas for work. No one ever said anything to him. He is an innocent man. I don’t even think they know who they killed.”

The incident occured at approximately 3:45 pm local time.

  • Mohamud Haji Sirad 53 years old male banana farmer and Jilib office manager for Hormuud Telecom killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (13) [ collapse]

  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • The funeral of Mahamud Haji Salad, reportedly killed by a US airstrike on Jilib, February 24th 2020 (via Morad News)
  • Mohamud Salad Mohamud's Hormuud Telecom, the company he worked for, identification card (via Amnesty International).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Masalanja farm being struck in the vicinity of Kumbareere village, for which due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Kumbareere are: 0.577719, 42.717772.

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 terrorist in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 24.

“Our persistent actions against al-Shabaab ensures constant and continued pressure on this malign network,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of operations. “Our collective efforts help enhance security in the region and put al-Shabaab on notice, making both Somalia and the U.S. safer in the process.”

Al-Shabaab leadership has expressed its primary desire is to conduct attacks not just in East Africa, but against Americans and U.S. interests across the globe. Currently, our command assesses the al-Qaeda-aligned group lacks the capability to strike the U.S. homeland due to the persistent pressure placed on the group led by our African partners.

Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.

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

As part of an international effort, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. interagency partners help support Somali-led efforts to counter and contain dangerous terrorist organizations from exporting violence more broadly.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM237a-C

Incident date

July 11, 2019

Location

جيليب, Jilib, 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

Al Shabaab members or civilians were allegedly killed in US strikes near Jilib and Basra. AFRICOM later denied conducting strikes in the area.

Harun Maruf reported: “Overnight airstrikes killed dozens of Al-Shabaab militants in Jilib, Cmdr of AS’s Hisba police station in the town, Hassan Dhere, his deputy and a 3rd official among the dead, per sources. Most casualties occurred at a militia camp and at an explosives training facility.”

Jeff Seldin tweeted afterwards that AFRICOM “says it was not them who targeted #AlShabaab — no strikes in #Somalia in the past 24 hours.”

Caasimada said: “The shelling occurred at midnight last night and is reported to have been targeted at four al-Shabaab bases.

The bombings include a district headquarters, a base, a suicide bombing station and another location where fighters reportedly were preparing to attack the positions of the Jubbaland and AMISOM forces in Banaranguuni, Lower Juba region.

About 20 fighters have been killed in targeted attacks on the district headquarters, online sources have confirmed.”

Abdullahi Ali Warsame wrote: “Jubbaland administration says the US DRONES destroyed four locations belonging to Al-Shabaab, at Jilib district . Hundred fighters who under training feared dead. High ranking included Xasan Dheere, iyo mo,alin ali and Husain Ali who was trainer,5 prisoners there killed.”

AFRICOM later responded to an apparent civilian casualty allegation in its first quarterly report: “AFRICOM received two allegations from two social media accounts claiming five (5) civilians were killed as a result of U.S. airstrikes in the vicinity of Jilib and Basra, Somalia. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or locations.”

The allegations cannot be found at the moment.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    12–24

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports mention strikes on a militia camp, explosives training facility and district headquarters in the vicinity of Jilib (جيليب) town, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • AFRICOM received two allegations from two social media accounts claiming five (5) civilians were killed as a result of U.S. airstrikes in the vicinity of Jilib and Basra, Somalia. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or locations.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    12–24

Sources (7) [ collapse]