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

USSOM307-C

Incident date

April 10, 2020

Location

Kamsuuma, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.249699, 42.780173 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

One elderly civilian, claimed by al Shabaab to be a tribal elder, was allegedly killed by a US airstrike in Kamsuuma. The US later pushed back heavily against the claim, insisting the victim was a terrorist.

AFRICOM initially described the action – which it said killed one al Shabaab fighter – as a response to US and partner forces coming under fire on the ground, noting “a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force.”

Local media – some with pro Shabaab leanings – claimed the victim of the strike was a civilian. Halgan Media reported: “Confirmed reports reaching the Halgan Media service desk reveal suspected US drones bombed the Al Shabaab controlled town of Kabsumma in the Lower Jubba province of Somalia. Local media reports surfacing from Somalia’s Jubba Valley reveal unmanned drones fired a series of missiles on the town, which fatally struck a motorist. It’s being revealed the motorist died instantly in the drone strike. The victim has been identified as a local clan elder named Abbas Mohamed Haji. It’s not clear at the moment whether there are any more victims from the strike.”

Morad News said: “Reports of US drone strike in the outskirt of Kabsuuma town in Somalia’s Lower Jubba region. Prominent clan elder, Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, Suldan of Jareerwene clan killed while riding on his motorbike”

AFRICOM itself declared two strikes in the area on April 9th and 10th: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force, near Kobon, Somalia, Apr. 9. The command also conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Apr. 10. The command’s initial assessment concluded the Apr. 9 airstrike killed ten (10) terrorists and that the Apr. 10 airstrike killed one (1) terrorist. U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

The press release of the Somali Ministry of Information revealed more on the location of the April 9th strike, which it said was conducted “in the vicinity of Koban between Jammaamme and Jilib Districts.” Kamsuuma is located between those two.

AFRICOM later overtly refuted claims of civilian harm in a detailed statement issued five days after the attack: “Immediately prior to the airstrike, this al-Shabaab terrorist displayed the murdered bodies of Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in a village. Following this act of coercion and intimidation, the al-Shabaab terrorist departed the village. Once isolated in a remote and secluded area, the terrorist was killed by an airstrike executed by the command in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia.

“‘This was no innocent civilian. This was a purposeful and heinous act. It was a war crime by an al-Shabaab terrorist who desecrated bodies to scare and intimidate innocent Somalis into submission,’ said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. ‘This terrorist posed with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background as Somalis of all ages were exposed to his gruesome public display.’

“One of the two outlets falsely reporting civilian casualties is al-Shabaab associated news affiliate SomaliMemo. Weakened by sustained military operations led by the SNA and AMISOM forces, al-Shabaab is increasingly relying on lies and propaganda, including releasing gruesome pictures of unverified civilian casualties, in an effort to grab media attention, as well as deceive the Somali public.”

AFRICOM later reiterated the statement: “Immediately prior to the strike, the al-Shabaab member displayed the murdered bodies of SNA soldiers, posing with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background. This was in an area where al-Shabaab had previously conducted executions and displayed deceased SNA soldiers. The al-Shabaab member then departed the village and the strike was conducted in a remote area where the 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 local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • 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.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Morad News)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Halgan Media)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Halgan Media)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Halgan Media)
  • Funeral of Suldaan Abaas Mahamed Haji, allegedly killed by a US strike on Kamsuuma on April 9th or 10th (via Morad News)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the vicinity of Kamsuuma, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.249699, 42.780173. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    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

US Forces
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • Apr 15, 2020
  • U.S Africa Command is aware of two news affiliates alleging an innocent civilian was killed as a result of the command’s precision airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on Apr. 10, 2020. These allegations are based on al-Shabaab propaganda and are false. The terrorist that was killed in the Apr. 10 airstrike was an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six innocent Somalis. Immediately prior to the airstrike, this al-Shabaab terrorist displayed the murdered bodies of Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in a village. Following this act of coercion and intimidation, the al-Shabaab terrorist departed the village. Once isolated in a remote and secluded area, the terrorist was killed by an airstrike executed by the command in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia. “This was no innocent civilian. This was a purposeful and heinous act. It was a war crime by an al-Shabaab terrorist who desecrated bodies to scare and intimidate innocent Somalis into submission,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. "This terrorist posed with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background as Somalis of all ages were exposed to his gruesome public display.” One of the two outlets falsely reporting civilian casualties is al-Shabaab associated news affiliate SomaliMemo. Weakened by sustained military operations led by the SNA and AMISOM forces, al-Shabaab is increasingly relying on lies and propaganda, including releasing gruesome pictures of unverified civilian casualties, in an effort to grab media attention, as well as deceive the Somali public.

  • April 11, 2020 (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received two allegations from an online media source and social media account claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Jamaame, Somalia, on April 10, 2020. After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On April 10, 2020 an airstrike was executed on an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers. Immediately prior to the strike, the al-Shabaab member displayed the murdered bodies of SNA soldiers, posing with al-Shabaab flags prominently displayed in the background. This was in an area where al-Shabaab had previously conducted executions and displayed deceased SNA soldiers. The al-Shabaab member then departed the village and the strike was conducted in a remote area where the 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

US Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged U.S. partner forces, Somali National Army Danab, and Jubaland Security Force, near Kobon, Somalia, Apr. 9.
The command also conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Apr. 10.
Somali security forces continue to lead operations alongside African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces to increase security and seize ground from al-Shabaab.
"Our assistance continues to build on the gains our partners are making," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. "The SNA and African partners on the ground keep hitting al-Shabaab hard, and it's having an effect on the al-Shabaab terror network."
The command's initial assessment concluded the Apr. 9 airstrike killed ten (10) terrorists and that the Apr. 10 airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.
U.S. Africa Command currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.
U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires providing programs and opportunity for the Somali people.
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 and Somali National Army forces. Together with the partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development.
U.S. Africa Command continues to work with its Somali partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • 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.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM139-C

Incident date

August 11, 2018

Location

Leego, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.71437, 44.50902 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Local reporters alleged that US and Somali forces had killed four civilians including a mother and child, during an operation in Leego.

Caasimada alleged that the civilians were killed around midnight, by Somali troops accompanied by ‘white US officers’, and claimed that the attacking forces had flown there from a military base to the north. An accompanying image used on social media was clearly unrelated to the event.

A declassified AFRICOM civilian casualty assessment report referenced the alleged deaths of four civilians at the hands of partner forces (possibly alongside US personnel) “on the outskirts of Leego village”.

One of the victims was confirmed by AFRICOM to be a woman – though it nevertheless classed her as a belligerent.

The official report – obtained by US investigative reporter Nick Turse in early 2019 – noted that “Two allegations of CIVCAS were determined. Somalimemo.net alleged that Somali forces, which received orders from the U.S., killed at least four people on the outskirts of Leego Village. Caasimada.net posted a second allegation [about the same event], claiming Somali Special Forces, backed by U.S. troops, killed four civilians, including a woman and her child.”

The accompanying casualty assessment determined that any casualties were caused by ‘partner forces’ – though conceded that a woman was killed in the incident.

“NOT/NOT CREDIBLE:

“Intelligence garnered from recovered items corroborated that numerous vehicle occupants were associated with al- Shabaab personalities. Intel assesses with high confidence that the cargo truck engaged by partnered forces was driven by al-Shabaaab personnel who inadvertently encountered the partner forces. Reporting indicates other al-Shabaab within the area fled and maneuvred around partnered forces once their location was identified Intelligence further corroborates that al-Shabaab members engaged first despite the employment of the escalation of force by partnered forces.

“Following the engagement, partnered forces did not find the deceased body of a child. To the contrary, partnered forces rescued an uninjured child from the cargo truck and turned him over to local villagers. All available information conclusively indicates that all of the deceased individuals, including the woman, were occupants of the vehicle that fired on partnered forces. Available information also conclusively indicates that partnered forces responded appropriately in self-defence.”

The assumed target of this event was al Shabaab.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Cause of injury / death
    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
    US Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    Somali Military Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the outskirts of the village of Leego. The generic coordinates for the village of Leego are: 2.71437, 44.50902. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    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

US Forces
  • Sep 4, 2018
  • Two allegations of CIVCAS were determined. Somalimemo.net alleged that Somali forces, which received orders from the U.S., killed at least four people on the outskirts of Leego Village. Caasimada.net posted a second allegation [about the same event], claiming Somali Special Forces, backed by U.S. troops, killed four civilians, including a woman and her child. NOT/NOT CREDIBLE: Intelligence garnered from recovered items corroborated that numerous vehicle occupants were associated with al- Shabaab personalities. Intel assesses with high confidence that the cargo truck engaged by partnered forces was driven by al-Shabaaab personnel who inadvertently encountered the partner forces. Reporting indicates other al-Shabaab within the area fled and maneuvred around partnered forces once their location was identified Intelligence further corroborates that al-Shabaab members engaged first despite the employment of the escalation of force by partnered forces. Following the engagement, partnered forces did not find the deceased body of a child. To the contrary, partnered forces rescued an uninjured child from the cargo truck and turned him over to local villagers. All available information conclusively indicates that all of the deceased individuals, including the woman, were occupants of the vehicle that fired on partnered forces. Available information also conclusively indicates that partnered forces responded appropriately in self-defence.

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Cause of injury / death
    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
    US Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    Somali Military Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM326-C

Incident date

January 1, 2021

Location

حرمك, Kunya Barrow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.794763, 43.384756 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were initially reported wounded in two US airstrikes on Kunya Barrow, local reports claimed. AFRICOM later confirmed that three civilians were in fact injured in the attack.

Radio Al Furqaan, the Al Shabaab-affiliated radio station bombed in the incident, said at the time: “On Friday afternoon, January 1, 2021, US warplanes bombed the headquarters of Al-Furqan Islamic Radio in Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle region, destroying the station’s building and equipment.

There were no casualties among the staff and staff of the station who were absent from the station at the time of the evening prayers, but civilians were injured in the vicinity of the station, especially an elderly man who was critically injured and a woman.”

In a press release the station added: “Al-Furqan is an independent media organization that was established in 2009 and has always been the voice of the oppressed people of Somalia, reporting objectively and impartially on the decades-old conflict in Somalia. Since our first broadcast, we have had to endure the challenges of working in a conflict zone and worked under extremely difficult circumstances in order to reveal the harsh realities of the U.S-led war in Somalia to the world.

Our offices in Southern Somalia are well known to the public and are not affiliated with or connected to Al-Shabaab. Our offices do not serve as training camps or headquarters for Al-Shabaab, rather they are public venues, easily accessible to the general public.”

However, other sources such as Radio Dalsan contest that view and say that Al Shabaab and Radio Al Furqaan are closely connected.

AFRICOM said in its initial press release: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in Somalia on Jan. 1, 2021. Both strikes targeted al-Shabaab compounds in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Current assessments indicate the strikes killed three and wounded one al-Shabaab members and destroyed six and damaged one al-Shabaab compound buildings. The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.”

Halgan Media and Garowe both said the strikes were conducted by a drone.

In its first quarterly assessment in 2021 AFRICOM said the incident was under review. In July 2021, it confirmed civilian harm, noting: “After a thorough assessment of the information and circumstances following the Jan. 1, 2021, airstrike, U.S. Africa Command assessed that more likely than not, the airstrike inadvertently injured three (3) civilians.”

The second strike noted on this date is reflected in USSOM327.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (26) [ collapse]

  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
    Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
    Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Radio Al Furqaan radio station, allegedly destroyed by a US drone strike on Kunya Barrow on January 21st, 2021 (via Radio Al Furqaan)
  • Footage of the strike on Kunya Barrow on January 1st, 2021 (via AFRICOM)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a compound being struck within the city of Kunya Barrow (حرمك). According to one source, @esj_news, the exact coordinates for this strike are: 0.794763, 43.384756. Analyzing audio-visual material from sources, we can confirm this location to be accurate.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    3
  • Stated location
    Vicinity of Qunyo Barrow
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Aug 20, 2021
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Aug 20, 2021
  • (Substantiated) Jan. 2, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Jan. 1, 2021. After a thorough assessment of the information and circumstances following the Jan. 1, 2021, airstrike, U.S. Africa Command assessed that more likely than not, the airstrike inadvertently injured three (3) civilians.

  • Jan. 2, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Jan. 1, 2021. U.S. Africa Command’s assessment of this report is ongoing.

  • Substantiated) Jan. 2, 2021, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Jan. 1, 2021. After a thorough assessment of the information and circumstances following the Jan. 1, 2021, airstrike, U.S. Africa Command assessed that more likely than not, the airstrike inadvertently injured three (3) civilians.

Original strike reports

US Forces

Editor’s note: This release has been updated to include additional assessment.

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in Somalia on Jan. 1, 2021.

Both strikes targeted al-Shabaab compounds in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Current assessments indicate the strikes killed three and wounded one al-Shabaab members and destroyed six and damaged one al-Shabaab compound buildings.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation. We take significant measures to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations while we continue to disrupt and apply pressure to the al-Shabaab terrorist network.

"This action clearly demonstrates our continuing commitment to Somalia and our regional partners," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, director of operations for U.S. Africa Command. "We retain the means and the will to strike the al-Shabaab terrorist network when necessary to protect the region and ultimately, our own nation.”

U.S. Africa Command and its international partners recognize the importance of stability in Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional security interests.

"Al-Shabaab remains a threat to Somalia’s future and U.S. interests, and we will continue to disrupt their efforts to terrorize innocents,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Our strikes help keep these terrorists off balance to help our partners then address deeper problems such as governance and development.”

U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with East African countries to help provide political, economic, and physical stability in the region and to work with international and African partners to achieve long-term security goals in Somalia for the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

A video of the mission strike has been posted at: https://go.usa.gov/xA9ZV

____

Original release: In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in Somalia on Jan. 1, 2021.



Both strikes targeted al-Shabaab compounds in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Final assessments are ongoing, however the initial assessment concluded the strikes resulted in the destruction of both targeted compounds.



The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation. We take significant measures to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations while we continue to disrupt and apply pressure to the al-Shabaab terrorist network.



"This action clearly demonstrates our continuing commitment to Somalia and our regional partners," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, director of operations for U.S. Africa Command. "We retain the means and the will to strike the al-Shabaab terrorist network when necessary to protect the region and ultimately, our own nation.”



U.S. Africa Command and its international partners recognize the importance of stability in Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to U.S. and regional security interests.



“Al-Shabaab remains a threat to Somalia’s future and U.S. interests, and we will continue to disrupt their efforts to terrorize civilians,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Our strikes help keep these terrorist off balance to help our partners then address deeper problems such as governance and development.”



U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with East African countries to help provide political, economic, and physical stability in the region and to work with international and African partners to achieve long-term security goals in Somalia for the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM051-C

Incident date

April 11, 2016

Location

1.2 km east of Yontoy, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.117661, 42.575190 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Lower Juba.

The attack began late on April 11 and continued into the small hour of April 12, Lt Col Michelle Baldanza of AFRICOM later said in a statement. The camp “posed an imminent threat to US personnel,” she said.

Somali officials allege the village was being used as a staging post for al Shabaab attacks. One unnamed “high-ranking security official” told Voice of America the al Shabaab fighters were seen making “some movements” before the drone attack started.

There were however reports of civilian casualties, with both a local Somali journalist and Voice of America’s Somali service reporting that the attacks killed eight people. Five of the dead were al Shabaab and three were civilians, according to witnesses and Somali officials. They said the strike hit the al Shabaab-controlled village of Yontyo in Lower Juba, 24km north of Kismayo.

There were reports in the week following the attack that civilians were “fleeing towards the countryside and other towns in lower Jubba region of southern Somalia for their safety, leaving behind their herds of goats dead in the airstrikes”.

In an email to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2016, Lt Col Baldanza denied civilians were killed: “We have no reports of civilian casualties from these strikes. We have significant mitigation measures in place during the conduct of operations to reduce the potential risks of collateral damage and civilian casualties.”

However, a declassified AFRICOM civilian harm review for Somalia, obtained by US investigative reporter Nick Turse in July 2019, found that the US military command was both alerted to the event and had assessed for civilian harm in July 2018. This insisted that “The targeted group was in an open area. displaying weapons, and not otherwise located in a place or group that would include civilians.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 woman)
  • 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
    5–15

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Tweet reporting on the incident
  • The same source reporting civilian harm

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strikes targeted the area 1.2 kilometers east of the village of Yontoy, north of Kismayo. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The coordinates for the area 1.2 kilometers east of the village Yontoy are: -0.117661, 42.575190.

  • 1.2 kilometers area around the village Yontoy, marked in red

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Jul 16, 2018
  • [Statement obtained via FOIA by Nick Turse in July 2019] On 25JUN18, New America reporter, David Sterman, contacted USAFRICOM PAO to inquire about a CIVCAS allegation concerning a strike IVO Yoontoy, Somalia on 11APR16. The allegation was featured in a Voice of America (VOA) news report on 12APR16 and in Chinese media reporting on 13APR16. Voice of America ("VOA") stated that "Witnesses and officials told VOA's Somali service that five militants and three civilians were killed in the airstrikes, which hit the al- Shabaab controlled village of Yontoy in Somalia's Lower Juba region." Xinhua (Chinese Media) claimed that recent U.S. airstrikes near Kismayo, Somalia resulted in the deaths of eight people. Their source, an unnamed local resident, said the death toll included five al-Shabaab militants and three civilians, one of whom was claimed to be a woman. N0T/NOT CREDIBLE: This incident occurred prior to the USAFRICOM CIVCAS SOP implementation; however, (USAFRICOM CCDR) was aware of the CIVCAS allegation and no further action was recommended or directed. 15 persons were observed at a known al-Shabaab bed-down location, during the day of the operation. The engagements occurred over 1.2 km to the east of the closest town and on the opposite side of a river. The targeted group was in an open area, displaying weapons, and not otherwise located in a place or group that would include civilians. The strike occurred in the context of an assisted partner force operation in the area, where partner forces came under fire from hostile forces.

Original strike reports

US Forces

In the late evening of 11 April and early morning of April 12 the US conducted self-defense fires against an al Shabaab camp in southern‎ Somalia which posed an imminent threat to US personnel.US forces are working closely with partner forces to combat al‎ Shabaab in Somalia. Al Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda and continues to use its safe havens throughout Somalia to plot attacks against US citizens and interests in East Africa, as well as against our international partners in the region.The US is committed to supporting Somali and [Amisom] forces as they combat al Shabaab and work to bring stability to the region.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 woman)
  • 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
    5–15

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM272-C

Incident date

January 27, 2020

Location

Homboy, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.397784, 42.870591 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

US Africa Command declared on the same day that it had conducted an airstrike on al Shabaab in the vicinity of Jilib, which it said had killed one militant. It was later claimed that a 20-year old farmer named Mohamed Moalim was killed in the strike, with the location given as Hoombooy – although in April 2020 AFRICOM insisted the victim was “an al-Shabaab operative associated with the al-Shabaab command and control network.”

According to the immediate AFRICOM press release, “Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

State-run Sonna described the militant victim in its headline as a ‘senior al Shabaab operative’, though gave no further details.

Garowe News said the strike took place on Jilib itself, noting that “Jilib town remains one of the regions still under Al-Shabaab control in Middle Juba despite the group losing substantial control across the country.”

Two days after the attack, Somali Memo, a pro al Shabaab site, published claims of what it said was a civilian harm event: “Relatives of a civilian killed in a US drone strike the day before in the Middle Jubba region provide further details about the shelling. On Monday, on 27 January 2020, an American-operated plane bombed 20-year-old Sidi Mohamed Moalim while working on his farm in the village of Hoombooy, about 18km away from Jilib district.

“Mohammed Moalim, the father of the victim, said his son was killed in a drone strike while planting a sesame field. Photos from the bombardment show the body of the man who was killed near some trees and found only a few parts of his body. The family of the man killed in the American bombing have strongly condemned the massacre of the Somali people by the United States.”

In April 2020, in its first quarterly civilian harm report, AFRICOM explicitly rejected claims of a non combatant casualty: “After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On January 27, 2020 an airstrike was executed targeting an al-Shabaab operative associated with the al-Shabaab command and control network. U.S. intelligence sources confirmed the role of the targeted individual. Strike video confirmed that the targeted individual was the only casualty of the strike. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Sidi Mohamed Moalim 20 years old male Farmer killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (30) [ collapse]

  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Scenes from the site at Hoomboy where farmer Sidi Mohamed Moalim allegedly died in a US strike on January 27th 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Homboy, for which the coordinates are: 0.397784, 42.870591

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • January 28, 2020, AFRICOM received three allegations from an online media source 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 January 27, 20 After review, the allegations were assessed to be unsubstantiated. On January 27, 2020 an airstrike was executed targeting an al-Shabaab operative associated with the al-Shabaab command and control network. U.S. intelligence sources confirmed the role of the targeted individual. Strike video confirmed that the targeted individual was the only casualty of the strike. 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

US 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, Jan. 27.
“Airstrikes extend the reach and influence of government while creating conditions for development and a better future for Somalis,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Bradford Gering, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “Reducing the influence and plans of al-Shabaab benefits Somalis as well as the broader international community.”
Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia 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 and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM346

Incident date

March 13, 2022

Location

Hareri Gubadle, Galgaduud, Somalia

Airwars assessment

At least 200 Al Shabab militants were killed by an alleged joint operation between US drone strikes and Somali forces carried out in Hareri Gubadle, near Wabho Township in Galgaduud region. The date of the operation is unknown but was reported on March 13, 2022.

The East African reported that the Somali government announced that more than 200 Al Shabab militants, including several top officials, were killed in their base in Hareri Gubadle, near Wabho Township in Galgaduud region, about 300km north of the capital Mogadishu by targeted US drone strikes. The Yemeni classified the strike as a joint collaboration between  Somali National Army and the US military and did not provide the exact date.

Shabelle Media quoted Al-Ahram who reported that the operation managed to thwart several terrorist explosions.

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
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    200

Sources (3) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces 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
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    200

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM237b-C

Incident date

July 19, 2019

Location

Shanta Baraako, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.225, 45.21292 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Two civilian were reported killed by US ground troops near Shanta Baraako in an apparent distortion of an In These Times investigation. AFRICOM later discounted the allegation.

The In These Times report alleged that Waliyo Cali Qaasim and Abdikadir Ali were killed by Danab special forces in a counter-terrorism operation.

In a post in the Nairaland forum, the report was rewritten alleging the two were killed by “AFRICOM soldiers”.

AFRICOM responded to the allegation in its first quarterly civilian casualty report: “December 30, 2019, AFRICOM received an allegation from an online media source claiming two (2) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Shanta Baraako, Somalia, on July 12, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.”

In a further clarification to Airwars, AFRICOM officials responded on May 6th 2020:

“1) Were US ground forces present as alleged?

USAFRICOM forces were not in the vicinity of where the alleged civilian harm occurred.

2) Did US ground forces engage in kinetic actions?

USAFRICOM did not execute a kinetic strike on the alleged date.

3) Are any US kinetic ground actions believed to have contributed to civilian harm?

USAFRICOM ground forces did not contribute to the alleged civilian harm.”

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Shanta Baraako, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.225, 45.21292. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    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

US Forces
  • May 6, 2020
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • December 30, 2019, AFRICOM received an allegation from an online media source claiming two (2) civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Shanta Baraako, Somalia, on July 12, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.

  • 1) Were US ground forces present as alleged? USAFRICOM forces were not in the vicinity of where the alleged civilian harm occurred. 2) Did US ground forces engage in kinetic actions? USAFRICOM did not execute a kinetic strike on the alleged date. 3) Are any US kinetic ground actions believed to have contributed to civilian harm? USAFRICOM ground forces did not contribute to the alleged civilian harm.

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Somali Military Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM153-C

Incident date

October 18, 2019

Location

Bulo Haji, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.63201, 41.984138 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

In an alleged civilian harm event previously unrecorded by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a declassified AFRICOM report obtained in Spring 2019 identified a claimed event near Kismayo in October 2018.

According to Casimada, “The strike against Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab group was conducted in Bulo-Haji area near the town, killing at least 3 children, a witness, who asked to be anonymous, said. He says a victim was taken into hospital.”

According to the civilian casualty assessment for the event, obtained by US investigative reporter Nick Turse, “Casimada Online released an article alleging that 3 children were killed and 1 was injured in the airstrike on 18 October 2018. The article goes on to state that the injured individual was taken to the hospital. The article does not directly accuse the U.S. of conducting the strike but the implication is clear, ‘It is unclear, who carried out the airstrike in the south of Somalia, but U.S. military often carries out drone strike against Al- Shabaab in south and central Somalia.'”

The assessment concluded that “Comparing the geographic location and timing of the of the alleged CIVCAS incident to the past missions, the alleged strike did not align with previous offensive or defensive strikes. Additionally, there were no reported munitions released on the day in question (18 October 2018).”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • 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

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the incident took place in the vicinity of the village Bulo Haji, near the city of Kismayo. The coordinates for Bulo Haji are: -0.63201, 41.984138. 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
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    IVO Kismayo
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Oct 23, 2018
  • Casimada Online released an article alleging that 3 children were killed and 1 was injured in the airstrike on 18 October 2018. The article goes on to state that the injured individual was taken to the hospital. The article does not directly accuse the U.S. of conducting the strike but the implication is clear, "It is unclear, who carried out the airstrike in the south of Somalia, but U.S. military often carries out drone strike against Al- Shabaab in south and central Somalia. NOT/NOT CREDIBLE: Comparing the geographic location and timing of the of the alleged CIVCAS incident to the past missions, the alleged strike did not align with previous offensive or defensive strikes. Additionally, there were no reported munitions released on the day in question (18 October 2018).

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • 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

Sources (1) [ collapse]