The US conducted its first known strike against so-called Islamic State in Somalia. CNN reported that both strikes were carried out by armed drone.
According to Associated Press, “A US official said the strikes were carried out in northeastern Somalia, with the first around midnight local time and the second later in the morning. The official was not authorised to discuss the mission publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.”
The news agency added that “A Somali security official says at least six missiles struck in Buqa, a remote mountainous village roughly 60km (37 miles) north of Qandala town in Somalia’s northern state of Puntland. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media. The US Africa Command said “several terrorists” were killed in the strikes. It said they were carried out early on Friday in northeastern Somalia in coordination with Somalia’s government.”
AP was not clear as to whether only the latter or both strikes took place at Buqa.
Voice of America noted the following: “The chairman of the town of Qandala, Jama Mohamed Qurshe, told VOA Somali that several missiles had hit a base for IS militants at Buqa village, 60 kilometers south of his town in the semiautonomous region of Puntland. ‘According to the information we are getting from the ground, six missiles hit the militants’ base in the mountainous area. Local residents and pastoralists were shocked and fled from the area,’ Qurshe said. He said that prior to the strike, residents reporting hearing airplane sounds. Details of the strike were still not clear — locals said the remote area was accessible only to the militants — but local officials and residents suspected the airstrike targeted the group’s senior leaders and perhaps even its top leader.”
According to a Freedom of Information FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, this US strike took place on November 2nd 2017 in the vicinity of the Golis Mountains against Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in Somalia (ISIS-S) fighters.
The incident occured at approximately 11:59 pm local time.
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Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in Buqa, a remote mountainous village, around 60 kilometers north of Qandala in Puntland. A subsequent FOIA response pointed to the vicinity of the Golis Mountains (9.883695, 44.889961), however, this region is not in Puntland. The village of Buqa is likely alternatively called Buqcatooti and can be found at these coordinates: 11.73944, 50.59111. VOA is the only source that says that Buqa is 60 kilometers south of Qandala, rather than north. 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
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted two separate airstrikes against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 3, killing several terrorists.
The first strike occurred at approximately midnight local Somalia time with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m. local Somalia time.
We are currently assessing the results of the strike.
U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF); targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world.
According to a Freedom of Information FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, this previously unknown US strike took place in the vicinity of the Golis Mountains, Somalia against Islamic State of Iraq and ask-Sham (ISIS-S) fighters.