The Pentagon announced four airstrikes on February 23rd in a press release issued by US Africa Command. One of these airstrikes occurred in Awdeegle, 50 kilometres west of Mogadishu.
The press release read: “These four airstrikes eliminated checkpoints and facilities used by al-Shabaab to collect illegal taxes to fund terrorist activities and to oppress the innocent people of Somalia,.”
AFRICOM assessed that no civilians were injured or killed in these strikes, but that two terrorists were. In an email, US Africa Command later told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that the two terrorists were killed in one of the airstrikes that hit Kunyow Barrow.
According to local reports, the four US strikes targeted Da’araha; Kunya Barrow (where two civilians died and at least two more were injured, it was locally reported); the vicinity of Janaale and Qoryoley (where one additional adult female civilian was said to have died); and Awdhegle. The Da’araha action appears to be the second event cited by AFRICOM for that day near Kunya Barrow.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
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Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of Awdeegle, 50 kilometers west of Mogadishu. The coordinates for Awdeegle are: 1.977202, 44.833162. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
In support of the Federal Government of Somalia's increased efforts to degrade al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted four airstrikes on February 23, 2019.
"Somali-led operations continue to place pressure on the al-Shabaab network, creating conditions for enhanced stability and security," said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. "In addition to creating enhanced security, airstrikes help to disrupt al-Shabaab operations and the network while preventing future attacks by this terrorist group."
Two airstrikes on February 23 occurred in the vicinity of Kunyow Barrow, Somalia, which is approximately 250 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu. One airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Awdeegle, Somalia, which is approximately 50 kilometers west of Mogadishu. One airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Janaale, Somalia, which is approximately 75 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu.
Airstrikes such as these complement our Somali partners’ successes against al-Shabaab, and are one component of our combined efforts to protect the Somali people from terrorism. Somali security forces continue to effectively target al-Shabaab forces in order to increase the span of governance of the Federal Government of Somalia.
These four airstrikes eliminated checkpoints and facilities used by al-Shabaab to collect illegal taxes to fund terrorist activities and to oppress the innocent people of Somalia.
"Degrading various facilities and checkpoints impacts al-Shabaab’s ability to finance operations, recruit, and execute operations," said Olson. "The Federal Government of Somalia continues to place persistent pressure on the network."
At this time, it is assessed these airstrikes killed two terrorists.
At this time, it is assessed no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes.
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. In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.