US and Somali special forces carried out a night raid on an al Shabaab-held village in southern Somalia, the district commissioner and a senior Somali intelligence official told reporters. It was the second US operation in the village in two weeks. “Several al-Shabaab fighters” are thought to have been killed according to NBC.
Two helicopters inserted the troops into the village where they engaged a small number of reported al Shabaab fighters, a senior Somali intelligence official told Associated Press. The official said a detention centre was targeted in the raid, although the US said “this information is incorrect”.
“The special forces of Danab and US troops landed in Kuunyo Barow and destroyed an al Shabaab base in the area,” the district commissioner told Dalsan Radio.
The US also carried out an air strike in this area on July 2nd, killing one al Shabaab fighter, AFRICOM confirmed in a July 20th email.
The only connection between that operation and the July 12th raid was that “both targeted al-Shabaab terrorists,” AFRICOM told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ). “US forces, in cooperation with the Government of Somalia, are conducting ongoing operations against al Shabaab in Somalia to degrade the al-Qaeda affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks.”
AFRICOM said US troops were involved in the July 12th operation but that no air strike took place. A spokesperson told BIJ, by email, that “US forces conducted an advise and assist mission against al Shabaab with members of the Somali National Army July 12 [July 13 local time] in Kunyo Barrow, Somalia.”
“Advise and assist” missions involve US special forces soldiers accompanying local troops on operations though Africom maintains the American personnel do not actually engage in combat.
“US forces are assisting partner forces to counter al Shabaab in Somalia to degrade the al Qaeda affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America,” the spokesperson added.
The incident occured around dawn.
Sources (4) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the operation raided two locations (including an Al Shabaab detention centre) in the village Kunya Barrow (حرمك), 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:
Original strike reports
Via email from Africom to BIJ, July 14th, 2017:
"No strike took place. U.S. forces conducted an advise and assist mission against al-Shabaab with members of the Somali National Army July 12 (if EDT) in Kunyo Barrow, Somalia."