Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM139-C

Incident date

August 11, 2018

Location

Leego, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.71437, 44.50902 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Local reporters alleged that US and Somali forces had killed four civilians including a mother and child, during an operation in Leego.

Caasimada alleged that the civilians were killed around midnight, by Somali troops accompanied by ‘white US officers’, and claimed that the attacking forces had flown there from a military base to the north. An accompanying image used on social media was clearly unrelated to the event.

A declassified AFRICOM civilian casualty assessment report referenced the alleged deaths of four civilians at the hands of partner forces (possibly alongside US personnel) “on the outskirts of Leego village”.

One of the victims was confirmed by AFRICOM to be a woman – though it nevertheless classed her as a belligerent.

The official report – obtained by US investigative reporter Nick Turse in early 2019 – noted that “Two allegations of CIVCAS were determined. Somalimemo.net alleged that Somali forces, which received orders from the U.S., killed at least four people on the outskirts of Leego Village. Caasimada.net posted a second allegation [about the same event], claiming Somali Special Forces, backed by U.S. troops, killed four civilians, including a woman and her child.”

The accompanying casualty assessment determined that any casualties were caused by ‘partner forces’ – though conceded that a woman was killed in the incident.

“NOT/NOT CREDIBLE:

“Intelligence garnered from recovered items corroborated that numerous vehicle occupants were associated with al- Shabaab personalities. Intel assesses with high confidence that the cargo truck engaged by partnered forces was driven by al-Shabaaab personnel who inadvertently encountered the partner forces. Reporting indicates other al-Shabaab within the area fled and maneuvred around partnered forces once their location was identified Intelligence further corroborates that al-Shabaab members engaged first despite the employment of the escalation of force by partnered forces.

“Following the engagement, partnered forces did not find the deceased body of a child. To the contrary, partnered forces rescued an uninjured child from the cargo truck and turned him over to local villagers. All available information conclusively indicates that all of the deceased individuals, including the woman, were occupants of the vehicle that fired on partnered forces. Available information also conclusively indicates that partnered forces responded appropriately in self-defence.”

The assumed target of this event was al Shabaab.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the outskirts of the village of Leego. The generic coordinates for the village of Leego are: 2.71437, 44.50902. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known 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
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Sep 4, 2018
  • Two allegations of CIVCAS were determined. Somalimemo.net alleged that Somali forces, which received orders from the U.S., killed at least four people on the outskirts of Leego Village. Caasimada.net posted a second allegation [about the same event], claiming Somali Special Forces, backed by U.S. troops, killed four civilians, including a woman and her child. NOT/NOT CREDIBLE: Intelligence garnered from recovered items corroborated that numerous vehicle occupants were associated with al- Shabaab personalities. Intel assesses with high confidence that the cargo truck engaged by partnered forces was driven by al-Shabaaab personnel who inadvertently encountered the partner forces. Reporting indicates other al-Shabaab within the area fled and maneuvred around partnered forces once their location was identified Intelligence further corroborates that al-Shabaab members engaged first despite the employment of the escalation of force by partnered forces. Following the engagement, partnered forces did not find the deceased body of a child. To the contrary, partnered forces rescued an uninjured child from the cargo truck and turned him over to local villagers. All available information conclusively indicates that all of the deceased individuals, including the woman, were occupants of the vehicle that fired on partnered forces. Available information also conclusively indicates that partnered forces responded appropriately in self-defence.

Somalia Military Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Somalia Military Forces
  • Somalia Military Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (1) [ collapse]