A US strike targeted an al Shabaab base in Balad Amin in southern Somalia, killing between five and 10 of the group’s fighters.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported at the time that the US confirmed it carried out an airstrike “at approximately 4pm Eastern Time” – 1am November 22 local time – in defence of US and Somali forces.
A US spokesperson said: “US forces operating with Somali National Army (SNA) forces conducted a self-defence airstrike against al Shabaab… The al Shabaab forces were preparing to attack US and SNA forces. We are still assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information if and when appropriate.”
Police, residents and the district commissioner told journalists a drone carried out the attack either late on November 21st or early on November 22nd.
“We heard three big crashes at an al Shabaab base in Balad Amin last night. It looked like a drone but we have no news of casualties,” Adan Ahmed, a resident of the area, told Reuters.
“The drone targeted an al Shabaab base last night. So far we have the information that five fighters including the al Shabaab leader in charge of Lower Shabelle region died in the strike,” according to Major Abdiqadir Ahmed, a police officer based in Wanlaweyn.
The district commissioner of Wanlawayn town, Hajji Isack Ali Mamow, told Shabelle News a “late night airstrike against [the] al Shabaab base” hit as leaders in the armed group were having a meeting. The attack allegedly was carried out by an unidentified drone.
At least three junior al Shabaab commanders were reportedly among the dead. The strike reportedly hit near Ballidogle Airport which also serves as a base for Somalia’s special commandos who are trained from US soldiers.
However, it should be noted that Airwars was unable to retrieve the original statement from the AFRICOM spokesperson, and must thus rely on paraphrasing BIJ’s reporting, considering the event as confirmed.
The incident occured at approximately 1:00 am local time.
Sources (5) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the village Baled/Beled Amiin, about 30 or 28 kilometers to the east of the town Wanla Weyn. The coordinates for Wanla Weyn are: 2.61945, 44.89357. According to UN mapping of the region, there are two settlements called Baled/Beled Amiin near the town Wanla Weyn: at 2.58327, 44.80579 and 2.58285, 44.7217. Only the first one shows a clear settlement on satellite imagery. However, neither of these locations are east of Wanla Weyn, they are to the west. In lack of any clarifying information or satellite imagery, Airwars has geolocated this incident to the settlement Beled Amiin, for which the coordinates are: 2.58327, 44.80579.