Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM222a-C

Incident date

May 9–10, 2019

Location

Farsooley, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.08436, 44.54515 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

“Multiple civilians” were alleged killed in a claimed US airstrike on Farsooley, according to reports which appeared to have originated with al Shabaab. AFRICOM publicly rejected the claim a year later.

Hussein Mohamed, a local journalist stringing for the New York Times and others, tweeted on May 10th that “Al Shabab media reported that US airstrikes kill multiple civilians in Farsooley town in Lower Shabelle region. No word from @USAfricaCommand yet.”

The source for that claim was SomaliMemo, a pro al Shabaab media site, which first referenced a possible event in an early morning tweet on May 10th.

A SomaliMemo article published later that day asserted the following [translated from Somali]: “US drone strikes have killed at least 13 people and injured at least three people in the area. Reports from the area of ​​Farsooley under the control of Qoryooley district say that American planes bombed parts of the area last night. At least 3 civilians have been injured in US drone strikes in Farsooley. In addition, US-trained Bancroft troops entered the area in Farsooley, committing acts of insecurity. Three farmers have been confirmed to have been escorted away by Bancroft forces, with their whereabouts until now unknown.”

A tweet by Somalia’s national intelligence agency NISA made clear that there were military actions on the town on May 10th, though made no mention of US participation: “A security operation in the village of Farsooley has captured AS militants. The operation contributes to the liberation of the hard-hit people of Farsooley village. Security forces will continue operations against al-Shabaab members. # NISA”.

In autumn 2019, US investigative journalist Nick Turse obtained via FOIA a declassified document listing recent locally-alleged civilian harm from US actions, which AFRICOM was reviewing. The fifth entry notes for the date May 10th 2019 that “[redacted source] alleged that a U.S. airstrike injured three civilians in Farsooley, Somalia… Outcome PENDING.”

In April 2020, in its first quarterly civilian harm report, AFRICOM rejected the allegation: “May 10, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Farsooley, Somalia, on May 9, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.”

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • 'US drone strike on civilians in Lower Shabelle region #Somalia'

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the area of Farsooley village, for which the coordinates are: 2.08436, 44.54515

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • May 10, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming three (3) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Farsooley, Somalia, on May 9, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated because no U.S. military strike took place on the alleged date or location.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]