US Africa Command reported that the previous day, it had carried an airstrike in the vicinity of Kobon, near the city of Kismayo.
AFRICOM added that “at this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in either airstrike.”
AFRICOM did not specify the number of belligerents killed, although AP reported that eight “extremists” were killed. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, this number was later also confirmed to them via email from AFRICOM.
However, citing local officials, reporter Abdi Rahman Adani claimed in a tweet that “Jubaland military officials say 32 #AlShabaab militants were killed in two US airstrikes at the road connects Araare and Kaban village in lower Jubba on Friday night at 7pm, local time. #Somalia”.
Xinhua placed the militant death toll at 30 – and also placed the attack at Jamaame based on comments from Somali officials the following day: “Said Jogsade, Jubaland’s operational spokesman told journalists that Somali National Armed Forces backed by Jubba land forces and U.S. Africa Command killed 30 al-Shabab extremists in an operation in Jamame town in Lower Jubba. ‘The joint forces conducted offensives in Jamame killing 30 al-Shabab fighters. We will intensify the operations to root out the terrorists from our region,’ Jogsade said.
“Residents in nearby towns said they heard the sound of heavy weapons. ‘We heard blasts in Jamame and learnt that al-Shabab fighters in the town were attacked by government forces,’ Jibril Adam, a resident told Xinhua.”
In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by US reporter Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again gave the location of the strike on this date as being in the vicinity of Kobon, and said the targets had been al Shabaab fighters.
The incident occured at approximately 7:00 pm local time.
Sources (3) [ collapse]
from sources (3) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Kobon, close to the city Kismayo. Reporter Abdi Rahman Adani claimed the strike targeted the road between the villages Kobon and Araare. The coordinates for Kobon are: 0.03586, 42.704521; the coordinates for Araare are: 0.026888, 42.682822. The coordinates for the road between the two villages are: 0.031300, 42.695155. One source (Xinhua) also mentioned the bigger town Jamaame, which is around 6 kilometers northeast of Kobon (coordinates: 0.06978, 42.748066).
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
In support of the Federal Government of Somalia's consistent efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Kobon, Somalia on February 8, 2019.
This precision airstrike was executed to degrade al-Shabaab capabilities, reduce the threat against Somali partners, and prevent al-Shabaab from plotting terror attacks throughout the region.
At this time, it is assessed no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.
“The Federal Government of Somalia is aggressively disrupting al-Shabaab activities and sending a strong message about their commitment to degrading this terror group’s ability to operate in the region,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Huston, U.S.Africa Command deputy director of operations.” These persistent and precision strikes help create enhanced security in Somalia while signaling an ability to swiftly reach al-Shabaab and disrupt their operations at a moment’s notice.”
Alongside Somali and international partners, U.S. Africa Command is committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia.
We will continue to work with our 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 from terrorists.