AFRICOM reported that the previous day it had “conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants on Jan. 18, approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Kismayo”.
It added: “No civilians were killed in this strike.” However, AFRICOM claimed that the airstrike killed “four (4) terrorists.”
In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM confirmed it had struck on this date what it says were “al-Shabaab Fighters”, in the vicinity of Beer Xaani, Somalia.
Separately on this date, Somalia and/ or US forces were reported to have killed several child soldiers during a rescue ground operation in the Lower Shabelle region. And US and African Union forces came under fire nearby. A US official insisted to Military Times that the airstrike was not in retaliation for that ambush. “’This was not in response to any particular mission. … This was a target of opportunity, and all within the confines that [the Defense Department] provides us with authority,’ said Samantha Reho, another spokeswoman for AFRICOM.”
Three al-Shabaab terrorists died in an explosion in Beer Xaani in Lower Jubba at approximately 6PM on Thursday… https://t.co/lyhUuaHime
— Abdirahman O. Osman (@engyarisow) January 19, 2018
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (9) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the village Beer Xaani, 50 kilometers northwest of Kismayo, for which the coordinates are: -0.22014, 42.19594. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants on Jan. 18, approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Kismayo, killing four (4) terrorists.
No civilians were killed in this strike.
U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.
Together with other international partners, the United States is committed to providing Somalia, AMISOM and SNSF with support in the fight against violent extremist organizations.