US Forces in Somalia

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

Belligerent
US Forces
Country
Somalia
start date
end date
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USSOM026-C

Incident date

June 1–30, 2013

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

Drones and helicopters reportedly attacked outside the town of Jilib, in Somalia’s Middle Juba region, killing three people and seriously wounding seven, according to locals interviewed by the Kenyan group Journalists for Justice.

Of the three people killed, two were women and one an elderly man, and of those wounded, three were reportedly children.

As the report noted, “Seven people, including three children, were seriously wounded, two women died and one elderly man after drones and helicopters attacked their village. An elder who was present at all the strikes said ‘We agree there was al Shabaab in our town but the militia have no known base. In their response the KDF [Kenya Defence Force] attack settlements where civilians are the victims.”

While Journalists for Justice inferred KDF responsibility, the use of drones and helicopters also indicated possible US involvement.

Currently, no further details are available, and the exact date of the event in June is unclear.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Extract from original claim of civilian harm from Journalists For Justice report

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the town Jilib, 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.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM025-C

Incident date

March 1–31, 2013

Location

Kol, near Bula Xawa, Gedo, Somalia

Geolocation

3.928658, 41.874032 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Two airstrikes by an unknown belligerent hit the nomadic settlement of Kol, near the city of Bulla-Xama, in southwestern Somalia’s Gedo region, killing a mother and her two children and injuring five others, a young man who fled the settlement following the strike told the Kenyan group Journalists for Justice.

According to a report, Black and White, the two strikes happened at around noon on an unspecified date in March 2013, “killing a mother and her two children and 13 goats. Three other women and two children were injured.”

Currently, no further details are available, including the presumed target of the strike.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Unnamed mother Adult female killed
  • Unnamed 1 Child killed
  • Unnamed 2 Child killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that two airstrikes targeted the nomadic settlement of Kol, near the town Bula Xawa. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of the settlement of Kol. The coordinates of the town Bula Xawa are: 3.928658, 41.874032.

Unknown Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

SOM016a-1

Incident date

January 12, 2013

Location

Bulo Marer, Somalia

Airwars assessment

French commandos failed to a rescue a French spy held hostage by al Shabaab since 2009. Paris claimed the militants executed the captured secret service agent, known by his alias Denis Allex, during an assault by 50 Special Forces troops. However al Shabaab’s media wing said the hostage survived.

Seventeen alleged militants were reportedly killed and eight civilians died, including a child and both his parents. Four civilians were killed when they were woken by helicopters landing. They were reportedly shot when they turned on flashlights. Survivors allegedly warned the militants of the advancing French force.

AFP gave the most detail regarding the civilian casualties: “‘Four civilians, including three from one family, are among the dead. They were all killed outside Bulomarer, where the French commandos landed before entering the city,’ resident Adan Derow said by telephone. The victims were a couple, their son and another man, other residents said. ‘We don’t know why those civilians were killed’ outside Bulomarer, where the raid took place, added another resident, Ali Moalim Hassan.

“‘Four other civilians were also caught in the crossfire and died in the town of Bulomarer” during a pitched battle between French commandos and Islamist fighters. The four included a woman, her child and a local market guard, according to residents.”

Al Shabaab claimed they had moved Allex to a new location before the attack although French and Somali government sources said he was killed by his captors during the attack. The militant commander Shiekh Ahmed was reportedly killed in the gunfight. One French commando was killed and another was wounded. The injured soldier was taken by al Shabaab who said he subsequently died of his wounds.

At least five helicopters ferried the commandos from the amphibious assault ship Mistral to Bulo Marer. The French force underestimated the resistance they would face, reported AFP. An anonymous Somali aid worker told the agency: “We were told there were about 40 of them against more than 100 heavily armed Shebab fighters. Their mission was impossible and not very professional.”

The US provided “limited technical support” to the French operation. US Air Force strike fighters entered Somali air space but did not fire their weapons. The operation was reportedly timed to coincide with a French air and ground offensive in Mali. Paris denied the two African operations were connected.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Unnamed man Adult male Killed outside Bulomarer killed
  • Unnamed woman Adult female Wife of above killed
  • Unnamed child Child Child of above killed

Family members (2)

  • Unnamed woman Adult female Killed in crossfire in Bulomarer killed
  • Child Child killed
  • Unnamed man Adult male Killed outside Bulomarer killed
  • Unnamed man Adult male Local market guard killed in crossfire killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • (2 children2 women3 men)
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    French Military
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    17

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Denis Allex (Via al Shabaab propaganda video)

French Military Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    French Military
  • French Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • (2 children2 women3 men)
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    French Military
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    17

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM024

Incident date

August 23, 2012

Location

Mountains near Qandala, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

11.361876, 49.676368 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Air strikes ‘reportedly from international forces’ targeted ‘a mountainous area near town of Qandala’ according to Garowe Online. However All Africa said that “Air strikes reportedly from a US military aircraft or naval ship on the coastal town of Qandala caused damage to many buildings in the town.”

All Africa and Garowe Online said it was not clear if aircraft or ships from “international forces” carried out the strike. Foreign warships had reportedly been patrolling the Gulf of Aden waters around Qandala for days.

Puntland officials told Garowe Online al Shabaab militants were ‘trying to set up new area of operations in mountains east of Bossaso’, which are near Qandala.

There were no known reports of civilian harm.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a mountainous area near Qandala and east of Bosasso, for which the coordinates are: 11.361876, 49.676368. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Mountainous area between Bosasso and Qandala

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Unknown Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM023-C

Incident date

April 17, 2012

Location

Gumah, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

10.88443, 51.11405 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

“Unknown military jets fired several missiles” at a suspected Somali pirate base in the northern autonomous region of Puntland a coastguard official told AFP. The target was the village of Gumah, described as being between Hafun and Bargal towns and some 220 kilometres (140 miles) east of Bossaso, the main port of Somalia’s breakaway Puntland state.

At least two civilians were reported injured, whom RBC Radio described as fishermen.

The air strike came near midnight and was apparently unprecedented as it targeted pirates, not al Shabaab. Muse Jama, an elder, told AFP that the two aircraft that attacked his village “came from the sea.”

Which nation the aircraft belong to is unknown. The European Union’s anti-piracy operation had been authorised to launch strikes on Somali coastal territory. But a spokesperson told AFP the EU was “not involved whatsoever” in the strike and refused to comment on who was. Both NATO and the US were also conducting anti-piracy operations at the time, though neither was known to have deployed airstrikes.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, EU Military
  • Suspected target
    Other

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in a coastal village called Gumah, 220 kilometres east of the port city Bosaso in Puntland. This likely refers to a village that also goes by the name Gumbax, for which the coordinates are: 10.88443, 51.11405. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The coastal village Gumbax, 220 kilometres east of Bosaso (220 km radius marked in red)

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

EU Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    EU Military
  • EU Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, EU Military
  • Suspected target
    Other

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM022-C

Incident date

February 24, 2012

Location

K60, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.91405, 44.90641 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

One civilian man was possibly killed as a US drone struck and killed up to seven members of al-Shabaab at Kilometre 60 or K60, in Lower Shabelle, 60km south west of Mogadishu on the road to Marka/ Mercer, international media reported. The action came hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had told a conference on Somalia in London that airstrikes against al Shabaab “would not be a good idea.”

A local civilian told Reuters that fighter jets roared overhead before a loud blast ripped through the night air. Hassan, a local resident said: “First we saw a huge flash and then a big explosion shook the ground… Later we saw a huge crater and nearby trees were burned.” Al Shabaab confirmed the strike but “said it was not clear if the dead were its fighters or civilians.”

Initially, no civilian harm was reported. But more than a year after the attack German journalists identified a civilian killed in the event. Mohammed Abdullahi, 50, had taken his animals to pasture when the drones struck, according to a joint investigation by newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and Germany’s national broadcaster NDR. The investigation was based on testimonies by the victim’s son, a 34-year-old goat herder.

As Süddeutsche wrote (translation): “Mohamed Abdullahi, at the age of fifty, is one of the elders of his clan. He is a highly respected man: people come to him when there is conflict – the best grass or water, the essentials of nomadic life. He says who is right and who has to give in, and his award is valid. There is no other law here in the bush. On this day he has to go far until he finds fresh grass for his camels, almost an hour. Maxamed Abdullahi is a tall, sinewy man with short hair and a narrow beard. He wears the long robe of the nomads and cheap black sandals “made in China”. He protects himself from the sun with a turban or hat, while camel hats he usually wraps his bedding around his head. Then he has something to take to nap…

“When Maxamed Abdullahi is not back the next morning, Salman and his siblings set out to find him. On the way they learn of a bomb attack, but they still do not bring this message in connection with the missing father. Then they meet a woman who brings her camel milk to the city to sell. She tells us that the body of a civilian lies at the point of attack. Their own dead always bring the al-Shabaab people away, they are buried as martyrs solemnly. Civilians leave them lying, often for days.

Salman Abdullahi and his clan follow the directions of the milk saleswoman, and encounter the carcasses of a few dead camels, and on the torn corpse of a man at the point of attack: The upper body lies like a thrown on a tree, the rest underneath. Only the face is reasonably intact. Salman Abdullahi recognizes his father immediately. Staring with shock and unable to touch his father’s body, he watches as others from his clan pick up the body parts, place them in a cart, cover them up, and bring them home. The al-Shabaab militia have banned them for a proper funeral, so they hastily pick up a grave and bury Maxamed Abdullahi. Killed by the Americans in an attack from Germany, left calm by the militants of the Al-Shabaab militia.

Maxamed Abdullahi does not leave his son a single picture. He never owned a camera, and he has never been photographed. Photos bring bad luck, as many Somalis think. And yet, there is a digital memory: On the video recordings of the on-board camera shortly before the impact of the Hellfire rocket, a tall, narrow nomad to be seen, wrapped in traditional Somali robes, the bedding wrapped around the head, black cheap sandals to the feet. Taken a moment before his death. It is the only portrait that will remain of Maxamed Abdullahi, stored in the digital archive of the US military, or perhaps on a now-sorted computer, at least somewhere in Ramstein. In Germany.

If the directional microphone of the drone was employed, it can even be heard on these recordings, what happened down there. The explosion, screams of pain, the silence afterwards. What ever. If the co-pilot has switched to thermal imager, the crew was able to watch how the temperatures changed after the attack. How the bodies of people became colder and colder.”

An American official in Washington confirmed the attack was carried out by a United States drone. A second official said an “international” member of al Shabaab was the target of the strike, though he said a white Kenyan reported killed in the attack was not the target.

A range of sources reported that the strike had killed between four and seven al Shabaab militants. Al Shabaab identified one of the dead as Moroccan Sheikh Abu Ibrahim. According to Reuters: ‘A very senior Egyptian was killed. Three Kenyans and a Somali also died.’ AFP reported that the strike targeted an al Qaeda commander in his vehicle, destroying the car and killing him.

Among those reported killed was a militant initially named only as Sakr and described as ‘the Egyptian.’  The Bureau of Investigative Journalism later revealed his full name was London-born Mohamed al Sakr, the best friend of and former deputy of Bilal al-Berjawi (himself killed on January 22nd 2012.) A February 2013 investigation by the Bureau, published by the Independent, uncovered that Sakr had – like al Berjawi – had his British citizenship stripped by the UK’s Home Secretary Theresa May prior to his assassination. He was one of more than 20 people to lose their British citizenship on the orders of successive Home Secretary. The practice has been compared to “medieval exile” by leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.

Sakr’s parents later said they believed the loss of his UK citizenship had left their son vulnerable to attack by the US. “I’ll never stop blaming the British government for what they did to my son. They broke my family’s back,” his father told the Bureau.

The strike coordinates were reportedly provided by two al Shabaab militants Ishaq Omar Hassan, 22, and Yasin Osman Ahmed, 23. The two were also accused of providing targeting information for the CIA to kill Bilal al Berjawi, and were executed in July 2012 along with 33-year-old Mukhtar Ibrahim Sheikh Ahmed – accused of spying for Britain’s MI6. Alabama-born jihadist and US citizen Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki, revealed a rift within Al Shabaab when he released a video in which he declared that his life was at risk as a result of an internal search for moles. “I record this message today because I feel that my life may be endangered by Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahideen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the sharia and matters of strategy.” Al Shabaab tweeted that al-Amriki “was not endangered”.

Yet reports emerged the following day that the al Qaeda-linked group had arrested al-Amriki and taken him into custody. It was later claimed that Hammami was executed by Al Shabaab on April 5th 2012.

In August 2017, a German court refused to hear a case relating to the potential unlawful killing of farmer Abdullahi in a US strike from German soil. As Süddeutsche Zeitung noted (translation): “Abdullahi’s lawyers are not satisfied with this answer. The files show that ‘none of the prosecutors has conducted an effective investigation into this case,’ says Natalie von Wistinghausen, who Abdullahi and Eberhard Kempf represent.”

Süddeutsche later added: “The death of the Somali camel herder was ‘at best indirectly’ caused by a – possible – omission of the Federal Republic of Germany, the court ruled. This meant: It may be that Germany has a little something to do with it. Because US Air Base Ramstein is clearly the data hub for drone missions in Africa. But just not enough, that the son of the victim should therefore be checked by a German court, how much Germany really has to do with it. The son has no legal standing, was the conclusion of the Cologne court.”

The incident occured at approximately 3:00 am local time.

  • Mohammed Abdullahi 50 years old male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–7

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Mohamed al Sakr as a young man (Image courtesy of family, all rights reserved.)
  • Mohamed Sakr as a young man (Image courtesy of family)
  • Gamal Sakr, father of Mohamed: "I’ll never stop blaming the British government for what they did to my son." (Image courtesy of Susannah Ireland/ The Independent)
  • The Home Office letter sent to al Sakr's parents, depriving him of his UK citizenship weeks before the US assassinated him.

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in an area called K60, on the road between Afgoye and Marka, south of Mogadishu. The coordinates for this area are: 1.91405, 44.90641. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The area called K60 on the road between Afgoye and Marka (marked in red), south of Mogadishu

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

Reuters, February 24th, 2012:

"A missile strike killed four foreign Islamist militants south of Somalia's capital on Friday, an intelligence official said, a day after the country's prime minister called for foreign air strikes against the al Shabaab rebel group.
Residents reported hearing a large explosion which targeted a car in the early hours of the morning in an area known as 'Kilometre 60', between Mogadishu and the port town of Marka in the insurgent-controlled Lower Shabelle region.
"A very senior Egyptian was killed. Three Kenyans and a Somali also died," a senior intelligence officer who declined to be named told Reuters."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–7

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM020

Incident date

January 21, 2012

Location

Elasha Biyaha, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.083813, 45.205288 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A British al Shabaab fighter, Bilal al-Berjawi, was killed by a US drone strike in or near the town of Elasha Biyaha, 15km south of Mogadishu, local and international media reported. There were no reports of civilian harm.

Three missiles fired from a drone operated by JSOC killed British-Lebanese militant Bilal al-Berjawi, also known as Abu Hafsa. The US intelligence services and military had had him under surveillance for days according to the Associated Press. Al-Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage later said that “‘around 1400, a US drone targeted our mujahideen. One foreigner, a Lebanese with a British passport, died.” A witness who gave his name as Osman told the New York Times there were two strikes: “One hit a car, which I believe held explosives.”

The strike was also confirmed to AP by a US official in Washington.

Berjawi was known to have been injured in US airstrikes in June 2011 and was suspected to have sought medical assistance in Nairobi at that time.

The Guardian reported that Berjawi’s wife had given birth to a child in a London hospital a few hours before the attack, prompting suspicions that his location had been pinpointed through a telephone conversation between the couple. The killing caused a rift within militant circles, reports suggested, with al-Shabaab calling an emergency meeting after the drone strike amid accusations that some leaders “may be involved in this latest killing to pursue their own goals.”

In February 2013 an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and published by The Independent revealed that al Berjawi had had his British citizenship stripped by the UK’s then Home Secretary. A British-Lebanese citizen who came to the UK as a baby and grew up in London, Berjawi left for Somalia in 2009 with his close friend British-born Mohamed Sakr, himself killed by a US drone in February 2012. The friends were among dozens of people to lose their British citizenship at the order of successive Home Secretaries.

In July 2012, al Shabaab executed three militants whom they accused of spying for the CIA and MI6. Ishaq Omar Hassan, 22, and Yasin Osman Ahmed, 23, were accused of working for the Americans. Al Shabaab official Sheikh Mohamed Abu Abdallah said they “had fixed a device on Bilal el Berjawi’s car and then he was killed by a plane in Elasha six months ago.” Abu Abdallah also alleged that 33-year-old Mukhtar Ibrahim Sheikh Ahmed had been working for British intelligence.

In 2015, investigative reporter Ryan Gallagher revealed in The Intercept that leaked US intelligence documents showed that Berjawi had been labelled Objective Peckham prior to his targeted assassination.

The incident occured at approximately 2:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Archived Somalia Report story via Wayback
  • Somalia Report on rifts within militant circles following the death of Berjawi (via Wayback)
  • Screengrab from propaganda video of al-Berjawi training in Somalia
  • In 2015 The Intercept obtained secret documents detailing the US killing of al-Berjawi

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that two strikes occurred near the town of Elasha Biyaha, near Mogadishu and Afgooye. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location of the strike. Maps show two education institutes called Elasha Biyaha between Mogadishu and Afgooye, for which the coordinates are: 2.083813, 45.205288.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM021-C

Incident date

January 21, 2012

Location

Kismayo, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.355651, 42.545703 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

In this single-source claim, six people were allegedly killed as an airstrike carried out by US or Kenyan forces, struck near the al Shabaab stronghold of Kismayo, Sheikh Mohamud Abdi, a senior al-Shabaab commander, claimed to Reuters.

It is not known whether the strike was by US or Kenyan forces. Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October amid concerns that Somalia’s 21-year-old civil war was spilling over the countries’ border.

The combatant status of the claimed six victims is unknown. The original source for this allegation is also not presently recoverable.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 6
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the city of Kismayo, for which the coordinates are: -0.355651, 42.545703. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 6
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (1) [ collapse]