Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM043

Incident date

December 2, 2015

Location

Kunyo-Barow, 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

At least three alleged members of al Shahaab were killed in an airstrike against Kunyo-Barow village. The US action killed Abdirahman Sandhere, a senior al Shabaab fighter, the US Defence of Department (DoD) declared, along with two other suspected members of the group. There are currently no reports of civilian harm from this strike.

The “military air strike” specifically targeted Sandhere (aka Ukash) but also killed two unidentified associates, the DoD reported.

Initial reports said the attack hit one or two buildings in Kunyo Barrow village, near the town of Barawe where the group’s leader Abu Ahmed Godane was killed in September. However a spokesperson for the US military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism: “The strike occurred in one location and did not hit any structures.”

Sandhere was not among the six high value al Shabaab members listed at the time by the US on its Rewards for Justice programme. The DoD said, in a statement: “Ukash’s removal from the battlefield is a significant blow to al-Shabaab and reflects the painstaking work by our intelligence, military, and law enforcement professionals. This is an important step forward in the fight against al Shabaab, and the United States will continue to use the tools at our disposal – financial, diplomatic, intelligence and military – to dismantle al Shabaab and other terrorist groups who threaten [the USA], interests and persons. We will also continue to support our international partners, particularly the African Union Mission in Somalia, that are working to support the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia in building a secure and stable future for the Somali people.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had carried out a strike on what it says was “an al-Shabaab named objective” in Kunyo Barrow, Somalia.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

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

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted an Al Shabaab base in or near the village of Kunya Barrow, for which the coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited information and satellite imagery 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

"U.S. military forces conducted an airstrike in Somalia Dec. 2 against a
senior al-Shabaab leader. 1/2"

AFRICOM told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

"U.S. military forces conducted an air strike in Somalia on Wednesday, December 02, 2015, against a senior leader of the al-Shabaab network. We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate."


DOD statement:
Today [Dec 7], the Department of Defense confirmed that Abdirahman Sandhere, also known as "Ukash," a senior leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated group al-Shabaab, is dead as a result of a U.S. military airstrike in Somalia undertaken on December 2, 2015. Two other al Shabaab-affiliated associates were also killed in the strike that specifically targeted Abdirahman Sandhere.

Ukash's removal from the battlefield is a significant blow to al-Shabaab and reflects the painstaking work by our intelligence, military, and law enforcement professionals.

This is an important step forward in the fight against al-Shabaab, and the United States will continue to use the tools at our disposal- financial, diplomatic, intelligence and military – to dismantle al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups who threaten United States, interests and persons.

We will also continue to support our international partners, particularly the African Union Mission in Somalia, that are working to support the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia in building a secure and stable future for the Somali people.

US spokesperson said: The strike occurred in one location and did not hit any structures.

Summary

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

Sources (8) [ collapse]