A reported US drone strike killed al Shabaab’s head of domestic intelligence in a night time action near Kunyo Barrow. While the action was apparently confirmed by Somali military radio, AFRICOM did not declare a strike on this date – indicating a possible CIA action.
Voice of America reporter Harun Maruf first mentioned the strike on July 19th, partially identifying the target. “Reports of an airstrike outside Kunyo Barrow targeting a senior Al-Shabaab figure. The airstrike targetted an official identified as “Ikhlaas”, an intelligence figure, per source. Ikhlaas held other positions including the political desk. No one claimed resp of the strike so far.”
That same evening, SNA Radio, the official radio channel of the Somali National Army, tweeted in Somali that “US drone strike at Kunyo Barrow kills 4 Al-Shabaab militants in collaboration with SNA and Africom” – presumably a reference to the previous night’s action.
On July 22nd., Voice of America published an article detailing the target of the attack: “Security sources told VOA Somali that Mohamed Nur Ikhlaas, head of al-Shabab’s domestic intelligence, was killed in an apparent U.S. airstrike near the town of Kunyo Barrow in the Lower Shabelle region on Thursday night. Ikhlaas was well known to the security branches, as he held the post for a long time. He was al-Shabab’s top political officer, according to security sources.”
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 incident occured during the night.
Sources (4) [ collapse]
from sources (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place outside of the village Kunya Barrow at night. The coordinates for Kunya Barrow are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.