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
Infrastructure

Incident Code

USSOM357

Incident date

November 23, 2022

Location

Bulo Madina, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

3.067730, 45.547450 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Over 49 al-Shabaab militants were reportedly killed and others were wounded by Somali forces and “international partner” airstrikes/ground operations in the Bulo Madina area of Lower Shabelle on November 22, 2022.

Garrote Online reported that according to the Ministry of Information, over 49 militants were killed by an airstrike following an operation by the Somali National Army aided by “local militias and international partners”. The statement from the Ministry of Information said that “the militants were killed in the Bulo Madina area, where they had converged to plan terrorist activities against the Somali people” and Garowe Online attributed the airstrike to AFRICOM, backing the Danab Special Forces.

Four residents of Afgoye district, around 25 km north-west of the capital Mogadishu, told Reuters that they heard large explosions on the evening of November 22nd, but were not aware of the village’s location or of the number of casualties. “Last night, the whole earth shook. We heard two huge air strikes,” said Ali Farah, a local bus driver. Voice of America also mentioned that residents in the region reported that they heard explosions.

Reuters also quoted the Ministry of Information, who they said announced that they had destroyed a number of military vehicles and weapons during the operation. A tweet from @BoodhariFarah also identified “a number” of militants as being injured without specifying how many.

AFRICOM has not released a statement related to this incident and according to Reuters, stated that they were not involved in airstrikes on November 22nd. However, multiple local sources, including @DrumChronicles, attributed the airstrikes to the US.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Bulo Madina, for which the generic coordinates are: 3.067730, 45.547450. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces, Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    49
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

Turkish Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces, Turkish Military
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    49
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM390 KS001

Incident date

June 16–17, 2023

Location

Saakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Airwars assessment

A civilian was injured by alleged Kenyan or United Arab Emirates or US airstrike on Saakow in Middle Jubba on June 16/17, 2023.

Horn Observer reported that a civilian was injured by airstrikes in Saakow, possibly carried out by Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, or the US.

Hormuud, Somalia’s largest telecom provider, also announced that their site was damaged by the airstrikes. The company released a statement that “there are reported human casualties but no Hormuud staff member was physically harmed, nevertheless the disruption of telecommunications services, destruction of property and emotional distress for local communities and our team have been significant.” @Hormuud also tweeted that the airstrikes caused disruption to their telecom and EVC Plus mobile money services, with @AhmedAKosar adding that more than 60,000 people were left without service.

Sources were conflicted as to who was responsible, with Garowe Online attributing the airstrike to the Kenyan Defense Forces while others referred to the UAE or US. At this time, no military has taken responsibility for the strikes. Multiple local sources pointed out the Kenya has previously bombed Hormuud installations.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Power Station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • 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
    Kenyan Military Forces, United Arab Emirates Military, US Forces

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • Damage to a telecom company caused by airstrikes in Saakow on June 17, 2023. (Image posted by Garowe Online)
  • Damage to a telecom company caused by airstrikes in Saakow on June 17, 2023. (Image posted by Garowe Online)
  • Statement from Hormuud Telecom after airstrikes on June 16, 2023 caused damage to their facility. (Image posted by @HarunMaruf)
  • Damage to a telecom company caused by airstrikes in Saakow on June 17, 2023. (Image posted by @Hormuud)
  • Damage to a telecom company caused by airstrikes in Saakow on June 17, 2023. (Image posted by @HussienM12)
  • Damage to a telecom company caused by airstrikes in Saakow on June 17, 2023. (Image posted by @HussienM12)
  • Damaged homes in Saakow district caused by airstrikes on June 16/17, 2023. (Image posted by @BaidoaU)
  • Damaged homes in Saakow district caused by airstrikes on June 16/17, 2023. (Image posted by @BaidoaU)
  • Damaged homes in Saakow district caused by airstrikes on June 16/17, 2023. (Image posted by @BaidoaU)
  • Damaged homes in Saakow district caused by airstrikes on June 16/17, 2023. (Image posted by @BaidoaU)

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

United Arab Emirates Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United Arab Emirates Military
  • United Arab Emirates Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Power Station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • 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
    Kenyan Military Forces, United Arab Emirates Military, US Forces

Sources (15) [ collapse]