On November 3rd 2017, AFRICOM reported that it had “conducted two separate airstrikes against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 3”. It made no mention of civilian harm.
However, AFRICOM stated that the strikes had killed “several terrorists”, though it was “currently assessing the results of the strikes”. The command added: “The first strike occurred at approximately midnight local Somalia time with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m. local Somalia time.”
In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM said it had struck what it says were Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in Somalia (ISIS-S) fighters, in the vicinity of the Golis Mountains.
Intelligence sources told VOA the second round of strikes killed fighters gathered at a place believed to be a burial site for those killed in the overnight strike (separately listed by Airwars for November 2nd 2017)..
Associated Press spoke to a Somali security official who said at least six missiles hit Buqa, described as a remote mountainous village roughly 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Qandala town in Puntland. Intelligence sources told VOA at least four missiles hit caves in Buqa Valley.
The Puntland region’s president told VOA the leader of the ISIS group was the target of the strikes, but that he had not been killed. “They [US] were targeting those troublemakers and their biggest leader Abdulkadir Mumin, they were looking for them,” Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told VOA. “Based on the information I’m getting he is still alive and is not dead.” An unnamed US official had separately told AP the strikes may have targeted top leaders of the group.
A senior Somali intelligence official also told VOA it was “likely” Mumin survived the attack, but believed up to 20 fighters were killed in the strikes. They added that some of the caves they were sheltering in collapsed on them as a result of the bombing. The official believes two foreign fighters were also targeted in the area, including a Sudanese fighter.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (11) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a remote mountainous village called Buqa, 60 kilometers north of the town Qandala. The village of Buqa is likely alternatively called Buqcatooti and can be found at these coordinates: 11.73944, 50.59111, just over 60 kilometers north of Qandala. 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.