Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM232-C

Incident date

June 5, 2019

Location

Outskirts of Tortoroow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.25045, 44.69117 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

The US military carried out an airstrike targeting an al Shabaab fighter in Tortoroow, according to a press release issued two days later by US Africa Command. It was locally alleged that a named civilian public transport driver died in the attack.

However AFRICOM later insisted thast the victim was “a high-level, al-Shabaab financier” and that “U.S. assets executed a strike on the individual in an isolated area separate from the civilian populace.”

According to AFRICOM’s initial statement: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Tortoroow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019. Precision airstrikes such as this one are part of our partnered strategy with the Federal Government of Somalia to transition the security in the country to a Somali-led force. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike killed one (1) militant.”

AFRICOM also said that it currently assessed no civilians had been harmed in the action. However, three days after the event, pro-al Shabaab site SomaliMemo claimed that one civilian taxi driver had been killed.

In an article published June 8th, the pro al Shabaab site SomaliMemo asserted: “More news comes from a drone strike a few nights ago in an attack on civilians in the Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia. Reports from the outskirts of Tooratoroow indicate that US air forces have bombed a residential house and civilians in Lower Shabelle. One of the civilians killed in the shooting was popular in Tooratoroow district, the late Ibrahim Abdi Gaab Osman, a public transport agent.

“Eyewitnesses confirmed that two rockets hit the teacher Ibrahim at his home but that thankfully the rest of his family survived. But there was damage to a motorcycle and other items at the compound.  ‘US planes bombed Ibrahim Abdi Gaab Osman, a prominent man in Tooratoroow district, at his home. He was bombed and was a public transport driver known to everyone,’ a local resident told reporters.”

In summer 2019, US investigative reporter Nick Turse obtained a FOIA response from AFRICOM detailing recent civilian harm assessments. The final entry read: “[Redacted source] alleged that an airstrike killed one civilian. IVO Tortoroow. Outcome: PENDING”.

In April 2020, in its first quarterly civilian casualty report, AFRICOM explicitly denied causing civilian harm: “June 8, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. U.S. intelligence identified and located a high-level, al-Shabaab financier. U.S. assets executed a strike on the individual in an isolated area separate from the civilian populace. This is contrary to the allegation which stated the strike occurred at the man’s home. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Ibrahim Abdi Gaab Osman Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • 'US slaughters civilian casualties in Lower Shabelle region #Somalia'

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Tortoroow, for which the coordinates are: 2.25045, 44.69117. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known 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
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • June 8, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming one (1) civilian was killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. U.S. intelligence identified and located a high-level, al-Shabaab financier. U.S. assets executed a strike on the individual in an isolated area separate from the civilian populace. This is contrary to the allegation which stated the strike occurred at the man’s home. It is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. airstrike targets al-Shabaab in support of the Federal Government of Somalia
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Tortoroow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019.

By U.S. AFRICA COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, United States Africa CommandStuttgart, GermanyJun 07, 2019

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Tortoroow, Somalia, on June 5, 2019.

Precision airstrikes such as this one are part of our partnered strategy with the Federal Government of Somalia to transition the security in the country to a Somali-led force.
At this time, it is assessed the airstrike killed one (1) militant.

Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike. Our process and procedures allow for additional information to inform post-strike analysis.

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 counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM, and Somali National Army forces.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]