US Africa Command reported that the previous day it had “conducted an airstrike near a terrorist encampment location in the vicinity of Shebeeley, Hiran Region, Somalia, on January 30, 2019.”
It added: “no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.” However, AFRICOM claimed that the airstrike “killed twenty-four militants.” This contrasted with AFRICOM claims just a week earlier that it would no longer give enemy casualty numbers in its reports.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, “Government officials in Baledwayne, the capital of the Hiran region, also confirmed the incident to Anadolu Agency over the phone.”
In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck on this date what it says were “al Shabaab fighters”, in the vicinity of Shebeeley.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (6) [ collapse]
from sources (2) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a terrorist encampment in the vicinity of the village Shebeleey in Hiiraan region. According to UN mapping of the area, this most likely refers to a settlement (Shabeeleye) at the following location: 3.23493, 45.53063. However, there is another settlement of which the name is also close in spelling to the reported village, called Shabellow (or Shabceellow or Sabeelley), at these coordinates: 4.71542, 45.21618. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
To support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike near a terrorist encampment location in the vicinity of Shebeeley, Hiran Region, Somalia, on January 30, 2019.
This precision airstrike is part of a larger effort to support the Somali National Army (SNA) as it increases pressure on the terrorist network and its recruiting efforts in the region.
“We are partnered with the Federal Government of Somalia, and other international partners, to protect the people of Somalia,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. “Precision strikes are part of our strategy. Strikes continue to help our partners make progress in their fight against the transnational terrorists who oppose peace in Somalia and in the region.”
The SNA and its partners will continue to effectively target terrorist training camps and assessed safe havens in order to deny al-Shabaab the ability to 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.
U.S. Africa Command currently assesses this airstrike killed twenty-four militants.
At this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.