Up to eight people – some civilians – and one al Qaeda member, were killed as a US drone reportedly targeted, and later captured, a militant leader in Waldena.
A fresh JSOC AC-130 strike in Somalia, reportedly operating from an airbase in eastern Ethiopia, targeted Ahmed Madobe, a deputy of ICU leader Hassan Turki. Madobe survived the attack but was wounded and captured, he later told The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill. His eight companions, who Madobe said included men and women ‘on the run’ with him, were all killed. It is unclear whether all of the the eight victims were civilians. Madobe told the Nation:
“At around 4am we woke up to perform the dawn prayers, and that’s when the planes started to hit us. The entire airspace was full of planes. There was AC-130, helicopters and fighter jets. The sky was full of strikes. They were hitting us, pounding us with heavy weaponry.”
At around 10am, he added, Ethiopian and US forces landed by helicopter and captured him. Somalia Report said the attack was on an al Qaeda supply convoy, and ‘follow-up operations’ confirmed the strike killed Tariq Abdullah.
A single source claims an SAS unit entered Somalia with members of US Delta Force (part of JSOC) to identify the remains of British and other foreign fighters allegedly killed in this event. The joint mission took DNA samples from 50 exhumed bodies and four British citizens were identified, the report claimed.
A leaked US State Department cable obtained by Wikileaks also later confirmed this event: “[Somali Trasnsitional Government Prime Minister] Meles termed the second AC-130 gunship strike on January 23 as “terrific.” The targets were hit, and there were no civilian casualties. The problem was that in less than 24 hours after the strike, the Washington Post published a report on it, clearly showing there is no “opsec” on these military operations, he said. (NOTE: The press leak comes at a very sensitive time. PM Meles is hosting the African Union Summit, which will attract over 30 heads of state to select a new AU Assembly chair. END NOTE.) The headlines on Somalia are not diplomacy and peace-building, but U.S. military operations. This has caused the Arab League and European Union, as well as some African states, to question/weaken support for IGASOM and peace-building in Somalia, the Prime Minister remarked.”
The incident occured at approximately 4:00 am local time.
Sources (9) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the border village Waldena. Various mapping sources point to different areas for this village but were not conclusive about its location. The village should be somewhere in this area between the towns Dhobley and Hosingo: 0.074253, 41.120546. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Washington Post, January 24th, 2017:
"The United States launched an airstrike in Somalia against suspected terrorist targets _ the second such attack this month, defense officials said Wednesday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the action was carried out in secret, provided few details about the strike by an Air Force AC-130 gunship earlier this week and were uncertain whether the intended target was killed.