Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM145-C

Incident date

September 19, 2018

Location

سااكوو, Saakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.637795, 42.452829 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

At least three children were killed as up to 12 al Shabaab members were targeted and killed by a night time airstrike, local and international media reported – though it was unclear who was behind the attack.

Several senior al Shabaab officials were killed or wounded in an airstrike, Somalia intelligence officials reportedly said. The intelligence officials said the strike hit both a training school and nearby general hospital in Saakow, in the Middle Juba region.

According to Xinhua: “Independent sources confirmed the attack on al-Shabab militants in Sakow town, saying at least three children were killed in a school. A resident in Sakow town told Xinhua by phone that the warplane dropped four shells into the center of the town near the Jubba River there. ‘I cannot tell you the number of casualties in the airstrike here because I did not get out of my home since this morning, but shells were four that created big fear,” said the resident who asked for anonymity.'”

Hassan Yaqub, a longtime al Shabaab commander, was reportedly targeted in the action. The Somali Deputy Information Minister Adam Isak Ali said that Yaqub had been injured. Twelve members of the group were also killed, he said.

Meanwhile, Al Shabab said three children were killed in what it described as a drone attack, while a local elder told Mareeg also said at least three children died in the strike, which was confirmed it said by witnesses who contacted local radio stations.

Associated Press reported that several young recruits were killed. This suggests that the youngsters may instead have been child soldiers.

It was not clear who had carried out the strike, AP reported. US Africa Command said it had not carried out a strike since September 11th. Kenya also carried out strikes in Somalia at this time, as did Ethiopia. A local news site reported it as a Kenya strike.However, Kenya was also not thought to have precision night time strike capabilities at this time.

A statement from the Somali deputy information minister said only that the action was conducted by “international partners”.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces, Ethiopian Military Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    12
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Damage at Saakow, reportedly the result of a night time air or drone strike on September 19th 2018
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Al Shabaab image shows damage reportedly from a September 19th 2018 airstrike on Saakow.
  • Bodies of two youths said to be students at a Qurani school at Saakow, killed in an airstrike by an unknown party on September 19th 2018 (Image via al Shabaab propaganda site)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a school and nearby hospital in the town of Saakow (سااكوو). Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to locate the school and hospital. The coordinates for the town of Saakow (سااكوو) are: 1.637795, 42.452829.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

Ethiopian Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces, Ethiopian Military Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    12
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]