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

USSOM284

Incident date

February 28, 2020

Location

حرمك, Vicinity of Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle, 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

Two airstrikes were declared the same day by US Africa Command, in partnership with the Somali government, which reportedly targeted al Shabaab in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow.

According to the AFRICOM press release, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28… Initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

According to two pro Shabaab sources, at least one of those strikes targeted Kunya Barrow itself – which is dealt with in USSOM283-C. A second strike appears to have taken place outside the town.

SONNA state media said the two strikes had targeted senior al Shabaab operatives, while according to the Somali Ministry of Information, an early afternoon strike near Kunya Barrow “killed two AS militants while also destroying one vehicle.” This may therefore represent the second event declared by AFRICOM.

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
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • 'Heavy shelling in Lower Shabelle region '

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28.
“The support the U.S. provides to our partners in our cooperative efforts to enhance security throughout Africa is unmatched by our competitors and is vital to not only East African security but to protecting the America forces on the continent and abroad,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of intelligence.
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 these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

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
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM283-C

Incident date

February 28, 2020

Location

حرمك, Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Two airstrikes were declared the same day by US Africa Command, in partnership with the Somali government, which were said to have targeted al Shabaab in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow.

According to two pro Shabaab sources, at least one of the strikes targeted Kunya Barrow itself – alleging that a 70 year old woman and a child were injured. It was also claimed that a drone had crashed on the town.

According to the AFRICOM press release, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28… Initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

According to Somaliweyn, “At least two people have been killed and two others injured in [airstrikes] in the central Somali town of Kunyo Barrow on Monday.” Radio Kulmiye said four were killed and three injured – though made no mention of the combatant status of the casualties.

However according to Morad News and Somali Memo – both news sites viewed as pro-Shabaab – two civilians were injured. Morad asserted that “Suspected #US drone strike reported in Kunya-Barow town in #Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. Two civilians, elderly woman and child wounded, taken to a local clinic – Witnesses Say”.

And Somali Memo claimed that “This afternoon, a drone crashed into a suburb of Kuunya Barroow, about 90 kilometers off the coast of Barawe. A journalist in the Lower Shabelle region said the shelling injured a 70-year-old woman and a minor. Witnesses said the victims were taken to a local hospital for treatment.”

The claims came at a time when al Shabaab was attempting to promote claims of high and indiscriminate civilian harm from US actions.

SONNA state media said the two strikes had targeted senior al Shabaab operatives, while according to the Somali Ministry of Information, an early afternoon strike near Kunya Barrow “killed two AS militants while also destroying one vehicle.” This may therefore represent the second event declared by AFRICOM.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • 'US bombardment of civilians again in the south #Somalia'
  • 'Heavy shelling in Lower Shabelle region '
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the village of Kunya Barrow (حرمك), for which the 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:

  • 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 two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28.
“The support the U.S. provides to our partners in our cooperative efforts to enhance security throughout Africa is unmatched by our competitors and is vital to not only East African security but to protecting the America forces on the continent and abroad,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of intelligence.
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 these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (11) [ 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.”

In its second quarterly civilian casualty assessment, AFRICOM assured no civilian were harmed: “On February 24, 2020 an airstrike was executed against an individual which U.S. intelligence, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed was an al-Shabaab commander. The strike was conducted in a remote area where effects were confirmed to be limited to the individual. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

The 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 (27) [ 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
    Non credible
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • February 25, 2020 (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received five allegations from online media sources and social media accounts claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on February 24, 2020. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On February 24, 2020 an airstrike was executed against an individual which U.S. intelligence, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed was an al-Shabaab commander. The strike was conducted in a remote area where effects were confirmed to be limited to the individual. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted 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 (27) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM281

Incident date

February 23, 2020

Location

دوجووما, Dujuuma, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.252321, 42.575321 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Three Al Shaabab fighters were injured in a US airstrike near Dujuuma, according to both the Somali government and AFRICOM.

A US military press release issued the same day stated: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Dujuuma, Somalia, Feb. 23. Initial assessments conclude three terrorists were wounded and an al-Shabaab compound was reduced as a result of this precision airstrike. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

Somali state media outlet SONNA released a similar assessment of the strike, noting that the action “was targeted to senior Al-shabaab militants near Jujuum,wounding number of them and destroying Al-shabaab compound.”

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

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

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Ministry of Information press release
  • AFRICOM press release

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike on a compound in the vicinity of Dujuuma (سااكوو) town, for which due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.  The coordinates for Dujuuma are: 1.252321, 42.575321

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Dujuuma, Somalia, Feb. 23.
“U.S. support to African-led counter-terrorism operations is crucial in East Africa,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of intelligence. “China and Russia appear content to remain on the sidelines as our African partners, with U.S. support, fight extremism and pave the way to enhanced security and stability on the continent.”
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-Qaida-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 assessments conclude three terrorists were wounded and an al-Shabaab compound was reduced as a result of this precision airstrike.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
Due to our capabilities, influence, and credibility, U.S. Africa Command and our U.S. interagency partners are uniquely postured to support Somali efforts, including to help coordinate other international partner engagement.

Summary

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

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM280

Incident date

February 22, 2020

Location

سااكوو, Saakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.637795, 42.452829 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Two Al Shabaab members were killed and another wounded in two or more US airstrikes near Saakow, according to AFRICOM. The US later said the pair, a husband and wife, were both active terrorists within al Shabaab.

The initial press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, Feb. 22. Initial assessments conclude two terrorists were killed, one terrorist was wounded, and an al-Shabaab compound was reduced as a result of this precision airstrike. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

Somali state media SONNA said that the strike took place within the city of Saakow. An official statement referenced women fighting for Al Shabaab, stating that “This strike is an important one because it demonstrates that women can also be al-Shabaab. Women that serve in the Amniyat network or other facilitating roles are al-Shabaab.Women are being coerced to join through fear or by force to support al-Shabaab’s false ideology.”

AFRICOM also later reported, on February 25th, that it had targeted and killed a woman and her husband: “Post-strike assessments confirm the two terrorists killed in the Feb. 22 precision airstrikes were an individual associated with the attack on Manda Bay and his wife, who was also a known al-Shabaab member. The two terrorists were identified as a senior al-Shabaab leader, who was in charge of planning and directing terrorist operations on the Kenya border region, including the recent attack on Manda Bay, and his wife, who also was a witting and active member of al-Shabaab responsible for facilitating a wide range of terrorist activities.”

VOA and the BBC later reported that the airstrike killed Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud, aka Bashir Qoorgaab, a senior Al Shabaab commander. VOA noted that “Qoorgaab was one of the most battle-hardened al-Shabab commanders of the group’s Jabhat (military). Most recently he commanded three al-Shabab Jabhat units, two of which are operating in Kenya, including the notorious Jaysh Ayman unit in the area of Manda Bay.”

The BBC noted that the US had previously offered a $5 million reward for Qoorgaab’s death or capture.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • AFRICOM press release
  • Ministry of Information statement

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike on a compound in the vicinity of Saakow (سااكوو) town, for which due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.  The coordinates for Saakow are: 1.637795, 42.452829

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, Feb. 22.
“Al-Shabaab kills regularly and indiscriminately,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of operations. “This al-Qaida affiliate exploits innocent Somalis, displaces families, and imposes illegal taxes through force and violence. They want to export their vision of destruction more widely. It is our collective international efforts and persistent pressure that prevents this from occurring.”
Initial assessments conclude two terrorists were killed, one terrorist was wounded, and an al-Shabaab compound was reduced as a result of this precision airstrike.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
Somalia remains key to the security environment of East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing U.S. interests in the region. We will continue to work together on our support of the Federal Government of Somalia in its effort to bring improved governance, development and stability to the Somali people.

Post-strike assessments confirm the two terrorists killed in the Feb. 22 precision airstrikes were an individual associated with the attack on Manda Bay and his wife, who was also a known al-Shabaab member.

The two terrorists were identified as a senior al-Shabaab leader, who was in charge of planning and directing terrorist operations on the Kenya border region, including the recent attack on Manda Bay, and his wife, who also was a witting and active member of al-Shabaab responsible for facilitating a wide range of terrorist activities.

“Since January 5, U.S. Africa Command and our partners have pursued those responsible for the attack on U.S. and Kenyan forces at Manda Bay,” said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. “This strike demonstrates that we will continue to relentlessly pursue those responsible for Manda Bay and those wishing to do harm to Americans and our African partners.”

Immediately following the attack in Kenya, the command took swift measures to increase its force protection postures and harden its operating location, including Manda Bay, while simultaneously pursuing the attackers and their network.

“Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, is an evil and remorseless enemy of peace, stability, and freedom in East Africa and threatens the very way of life of people there, as well as Americans and U.S. interest in the region and abroad,” said Townsend.

Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world. In November 2019, after a series of complex attacks targeting Somali bases hosting U.S. forces, al-Shabaab’s leadership publicly identified Americans and U.S. interests worldwide as priority targets. The message mirrored Usama bin Laden’s declaration of war on the U.S. in 1996.

Alongside our partners, U.S. Africa Command continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting external attacks. Due to our collective security and U.S. whole-of-government efforts, the command has observed tangible progress in Somalia over the past decade. While progress is not irreversible, AMISOM and the Somali National Army (SNA) have made gains in al-Shabaab strongholds in southern Somalia, holding territory and establishing outposts. U.S. trained SNA forces, along with combined counterterrorism efforts, continue to support observed momentum and promote greater opportunity.

“U.S. Africa Command will continue to support our African and European partners in the fight against al-Shabaab,” said Townsend. “It is important to impact their ability to threaten peace and security in East Africa and prevent their threats against the U.S. from being a reality.”

U.S. Africa Command conducted the precision airstrike in coordination with the government of Somalia. The airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, which is located approximately 320 kilometers west of Mogadishu.

Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing comprehensive U.S. interests in the region.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM279a

Incident date

February 21, 2020

Location

سااكوو, Saakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.637795, 42.452829 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

In an event not publicly disclosed at the time, US Africa Command conducted a strike in the vicinity of Saakow on February 21st, which it later said “did not result in any terrorist deaths, injuries or damage to equipment and infrastructure. Nor did we assess any civilians were killed or injured.”

The strike came to light, along with two others, when Voice of America said in early March that it had been notified of 25 airstrikes to date in Somalia in 2020 – while official records showed only 23 declared strikes. In response to a query from Airwars, an official noted by email:

“The following strikes are missing from your list up to March 10, 2020:

February 1–IVO Jilib

Feb 3–IVO Jilib

Feb 21–IVO Saakow

The three strikes that occurred Feb. 1, 3, and 21 did not result in any terrorist deaths, injuries or damage to equipment and infrastructure. Nor did we assess any civilians were killed or injured. All three strikes were against the al-Shabaab violent extremist organization, to include terrorists or infrastructure. As a matter of policy, we do not discuss the specifics on targeting.”

No additional 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

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike on a compound in the vicinity of Saakow (سااكوو) town, for which due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.  The generic coordinates for Saakow are: 1.637795, 42.452829

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

[VIA email]
"The following strikes are missing from your list up to March 10, 2020:

        February 1--IVO Jilib

        Feb 3--IVO Jilib

        Feb 21--IVO Saakow

The three strikes that occurred Feb. 1, 3, and 21 did not result in any terrorist deaths, injuries or damage to equipment and infrastructure. Nor did we assess any civilians were killed or injured. All three strikes were against the al-Shabaab violent extremist organization, to include terrorists or infrastructure. As a matter of policy, we do not discuss the specifics on targeting."

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

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM279

Incident date

February 19, 2020

Location

Wadajir, Qoryooley, Somalia

Geolocation

1.746667, 44.486111 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Three Al Shabaab fighters were allegedly killed in a US airstike near Wadajir, according to AFRICOM.

The US military’s press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a precision airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Wadajir, Somalia, Feb. 19. The command’s initial assessment concluded this precision airstrike killed three terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

SONNA also confirmed the strike in cooperation with the US and said that operations against Al Shabaab were being scaled up in the south of country.

Caasimada reported additional security operations by the Somali government in the area on 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
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • 'Somalia iyo Mareykanka Oo si wadajir ah u qaaday howlgal ka dhan ah'

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Wadajir, for which the coordinates are: 1.746667, 44.486111

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 a precision airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Wadajir, Somalia, Feb. 19.
“Al-Shabaab attacks range from unsophisticated to complex operations, and include assassinations, IEDs and vehicle-borne IED attacks, among other brutal tactics,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of intelligence. “Removing even one of these terrorists from the field supports our partners on the ground and prevents that individual terrorist from planning or executing future attacks on Africans and Americans.”
The command’s initial assessment concluded this precision airstrike killed three terrorists.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
Somalia remains key to the security environment of East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing U.S. interests in the region. We will continue to work together on our support of the Federal Government of Somalia in its effort to bring improved governance, development and stability to the Somali people.

Summary

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

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM278-C

Incident date

February 17, 2020

Location

Jilib, Middle Juba, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Two civilians, including a child, were reportedly injured in a US airstrike on Jilib.

Somali Memo, a news site close to Al Shabaab, wrote: “Reports from Jilib district say that a drone crashed into a civilian residence yesterday, killing no one but injuring two civilians, including a minor. Residents said the missiles fired at the buildings destroyed them, and that an elderly man and a minor were injured.”

The Somali Guardian noted that “At least two civilians have been wounded in a US drone strike in Somalia’s Middle Juba region, AFRICOM has claimed responsibility. Reports from the town of Jilib in the Middle Juba region of Somalia say two civilians have been injured in an air bombardment carried out by unmanned drone. A young girl and an elderly man sustained injuries after missiles hit their home in the middle of a residential area, family members have confirmed to local Somali media outlets.”

AFRICOM itself confirmed conducting the strike but said no civilians were harmed: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 17. Initial assessments conclude one (1) al-Shabaab facility was destroyed as a result of this airstrike. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

SONNA said the strike took place inside the city of Jilib.

Other sources either referred to the AFRICOM, or to the Somali Memo report.

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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • AFRICOM press release
  • Ministry of Infromation press release
  • Approximate location in Somalia

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike on a compound within Jilib (جيليب) town, for which due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The coordinates for Jilib are: 0.494527, 42.777868

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 compound in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Feb. 17.

“We’re working with our partners to adversely impact al-Shabaab’s operations and ability to attack our Somali and East African partners,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “It is important to counter this al-Qaeda-aligned group’s ability and intent to plan and carry out attacks in Somalia and more broadly. This precision strike does just that.”

Initial assessments conclude one (1) al-Shabaab facility was destroyed as a result of this airstrike.

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

Somalia remains key to the security environment of East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing U.S. interests in the region. We will continue to work together on our support of the Federal Government of Somalia in its effort to bring improved governance, development and stability to the Somali people.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (22) [ collapse]