A joint night time operation at Janaale by Somali National Armed Forces and AFRICOM – including the reported landing of US forces – led to a number of al Shabaab casualties and possible damage to civilian homes.
Although AFRICOM did not confirm the incident at the time, a later FOIA response did confirm the action.
Radio Risaala claimed that civilian homes had been struck during the attack – though said that no civilian casualty figures were available, while al Shabaab had suffered losses. SBC reported that “The attack came after US troops landed on the outskirts of Janaale district and fought with Al-Shabaab fighters, and it was reported that the fighting lasted for about half an hour.”
In a FOIA response obtained by US reporter Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM gave the location of a strike on February 10th as being in the vicinity of Janaale, and said the targets had been al Shabaab fighters.
However, at the time AFRICOM reported two strikes in the vicinity, both on February 11th. In a press release, AFRICOM stated that “the first airstrike on February 11 killed eight militants and the second airstrike killed four militants”. It added that “The airstrikes on February 11 were executed as Somali forces were leading an operation in an area where al-Shabaab conducts terrorist activities, as well as exploits the local populace for illegal taxes. ”
AFRICOM added that “at this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in either airstrike.”
7D News also said the airstrikes on Janaale occurred on February 11th “The joint US-Somalia operation took place early Monday morning, February 11th, in the town of Janaale in Lower Shabelle province. The ground attack resulted in a direct confrontation and was accompanied by airstrikes. There is no word on casualty figures. Al-Shabab confirmed the attack happened but said that its fighters thwarted it. ‘Al-Shabab fighters thwarted an attack by US and Somali forces on Janaale. US airstrikes in the same area destroyed residential homes,’ an al-Shabab statement said.”
Mareeg News published pictures of what it said were civilian homes severely damaged in the attack. According to Horn Globe, “Radio Andulus which is affiliated to the militant group reported that civilian houses were destroyed. ‘There were no human casualties,’ the group’s radio said.”
Airwars has created a second strike event on this date for Tuwaareey near Janaale, in which multiple civilians were locally alleged killed.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (8) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike destroyed civilian houses in the outskirts of the town Janalle/Janaale. One source reports that bombs exploded in different parts of the city. The coordinates for the town Janaale are: 1.80953, 44.69345. Two photographs of the destruction show a narrow street, however, due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of these photographs.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
DATE RELEASE February 13, 2019
Al-Shabaab Degraded by U.S., Federal Government of Somalia
In support of the Federal Government of Somalia's consistent efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Janaale, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 11, 2019.
Precision airstrikes support Somali partners’ ongoing efforts to reduce al-Shabaab safe havens, degrade the terrorists’ infrastructure, and destroy terrorist equipment. Airstrikes complement our Somali partners’ successes against al-Shabaab, and are one component of our combined effort to protect the Somali people from terrorism.
“Our security partners are actively executing operations in Somalia to increase the span of governance of the Federal Government of Somalia,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. “Somali security forces are effectively targeting al-Shabaab forces to create space for governance and development in Somalia.”
The airstrikes on February 11 were executed as Somali forces were leading an operation in an area where al-Shabaab conducts terrorist activities, as well as exploits the local populace for illegal taxes. Somali-led operations like this are vital to maintaining pressure on the terrorist network.
U.S. Africa Command currently assesses the first airstrike on February 11 killed eight militants and the second airstrike killed four militants.
At this time, it is assessed no civilians were injured or killed in either airstrike.
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.
2/10/2019: IVO Janalle, Somalia. al Shabaab fighters [targeted].