US air support was potentially involved in an operation to retake areas of the Lower Shabelle region which killed 15 al Shabaab fighters, Radio Shabelle reported.
Colonel Mohamed Abdullahi Arale confirmed to state media that the Somali National Army had retaken Yaaqbari Weyne, MadaxMarodi and Lego villages. Colonel Arale reportedly said that his troops had killed 15 fighters during the operation and destroyed several vehicles that they were using.
According to Shabelle’s sources, the US also provided air support. However other local sources made no mention of US support at the time.
In August 2019, the Media Relations Chief for US Africa Command, John Manley, denied US involvement in the strike telling the Bureau of Investigative Journalism “We did not participate in any combined operations in this location on this day, as alleged in the article.”
Asked whether it had been responsible for this event, in February 2020 a senior AFRICOM official told Airwars that this was not the case. However, this may not preclude actions by the CIA which conducts its own undeclared strikes in Somalia.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (3) [ collapse]
from sources (2) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the Lower Shabelle region. The report points to three different villages, spread throughout the region: Yaaqbari Weyne (2.62947, 44.69768), Madax Marodi (1.83016, 44.46721) and Leego (2.71437, 44.50902, just across the border in Bay). The generic coordinates for the Lower Shabelle region are: 2.208334, 44.909651. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
US denial of strike via email to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, received on August 5th, 2019:
"Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We did not participate in any
combined operations in this location on this day, as alleged in the article."