Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM075-C

Incident date

July 2–10, 2017

Location

O'wdhiile, 55 miles south of Mogadishu, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.685639, 44.618833 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

An airstrike reportedly killed up to two civilians in O’wdhille, a village about 55 miles south of Mogadishu, according to findings from a field investigation by The Nation.

Reporter Amanda Sperber detailed the account of Osman [not his real name] whose relatives were reportedly killed in the strike:

“Around 5 pm in early July 2017, Osman said he heard an explosion. He waited until it seemed safe, and then ran to the farm that was hit—only to find the body of his 38-year-old brother. Osman said his brother was picking fruit with his uncle, 42-year-old Abdullahi, whom he has not seen since and presumes was killed in the blast.

A day later, Osman said, government soldiers came and inspected the scene. After they left, Al Shabaab arrived and accused villagers of feeding the government information. Six members of the group allegedly interrogated Osman for seven days. He said they blindfolded him, beat him with their rifles, and shot him repeatedly in the leg.

After a local emir negotiated his release, Osman continued, he was tossed in a vegetable cart and left on the side of the road. Still suffering from the wounds of his torture, he took a four-hour minibus ride to Mogadishu, where he spent four months recovering at Medina Hospital. He said that during this time, Al Shabaab kept threatening his father and surviving brother.

US Africa Command did not publicly report any strikes near O’wdhiile in July 2017. They did however release a list of previously unreported strikes to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in which for operational security reasons, AFRICOM said it couldn’t give the exact locations – these are recorded here as SOM051, SOM052 and SOM053. Sperber, however, stated that Africom released the location of these three strikes to her and reported  that “none are near Osman’s house.”

She went on to note that she sent Osman’s story on to US Africa Command which stated that it didn’t match any of their records. The journalist has suggested that the strike may not match Africom’s records because it could potentially be a CIA strike.

In July 2019, more information about the event emerged in a FOIA obtained by reporter Nick Turse. This stated: “NOT/ NOT CREDIBLE Researching classified documents, all  strikes occurring on that [unspecified] date were more than 20 miles away from claimed location of CIVCAS.”

The incident occured at 5:00 pm local time.

  • Abdullahi 42 years old male killed
  • Brother of Osman Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a farm in a village called O’wdhiile, 55 miles south of Mogadishu. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of this village. The coordinates for the area 55 miles of Mogadishu are: 1.685639, 44.618833.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed 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
  • Stated location
    20 minutes by foot from the village of Shalan Bood
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Dec 21, 2018
  • On 12 December 2018, AFRICOM public affairs fielded a request for information from Amanda Sperber. Similar to a previous allegation, she was relaying to AFRICOM an allegation of CIVCAS from [ ]. He alleges that his uncle and brother were killed in a strike about 20 minutes by foot, outside the village of Shalan Bood in early July 2017. NOT/ NOT CREDIBLE Researching classified documents, all  strikes occurring on that [unspecified] date were more than 20 miles away from claimed location of CIVCAS.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]