Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM151

Incident date

October 12, 2018

Location

Jowle, Mudug, Somalia

Geolocation

4.65988, 47.517065 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

At least 60 and as many as 117 al Shabaab fighters were killed in a US strike on October 12th, it was reported.

The location appears to have been a training camp, according to Voice of America, which noted: “A Somali official says the strike happened near the village of Jowle, about 20 kilometers southwest of Harardhere. The official, who did not want to be named, put the death toll at 117. He says when the attack occurred, the militants were gathered at a camp and were planning to travel to the Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions, where villagers have put up resistance against al-Shabab.”

Citing what appeared to be another Somali official, CBS News said the toll for the terror group exceeded 75.

In an October 16th press release, US Africa Command said the attack was its largest against al Shabaab since November 2017, when US forces had carried out a strike on an al Shabaab camp killing approximately 100 militants.

In an earlier press release issued October 13th, the command said that they were “currently assessing the results of this airstrike, which targeted only al Shabaab militants.” This marked a change from the usual line included in AFRICOM press releases, which tended to state that the command has assessed that no civilians were injured or killed in a strike.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism took this to AFRICOM, which said that, at this time, they had assessed no civilians were injured or killed in the action and stated that they had not been investigating any allegations of civilian casualties. This was reiterated in the second press release:

“This precision airstrike was conducted in support of the Federal Government of Somalia as it continues to degrade al-Shabaab. Airstrikes reduce al-Shabaab’s ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks, and degrade its freedom of maneuver within the region.”

Two US defense officials told CNN the strike was carried out by a drone.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck what it says was an “al Shabaab named objective”, in the vicinity of Harardere, Somalia.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    60–117

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a camp in the vicinity of the village of Jowle, close to Harardhere. The coordinates for Jowle are: 4.65988, 47.517065. 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
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Update to October 12 U.S. airstrike in support of the Federal Government of Somalia

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Harardere, Somalia, on October 12, 2018, as previously released.

We currently assess this airstrike killed approximately sixty (60) terrorists. This precision airstrike was the largest airstrike against al-Shabaab since November 21, 2017, when U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against an al-Shabaab camp killing approximately 100 terrorists.

We also currently assess this airstrike did not injure or kill any civilians.

This precision airstrike was conducted in support of the Federal Government of Somalia as it continues to degrade al-Shabaab. Airstrikes reduce al-Shabaab’s ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks, and degrade its freedom of maneuver within the region.

Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.

desired end state in East Africa is one in which terrorist organizations cannot destabilize Somalia and its neighboring states, nor threaten the interests of the U.S. and its international allies in the region. Accordingly, U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    60–117

Sources (13) [ collapse]