Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM255

Incident date

November 3, 2019

Location

Jilib or between Jilib and Xaramka, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.494527, 42.777868 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A senior al Shabaab communications official was reported killed, either in an air or ground operation.

The official was named by all sources as Ibrahim Abu Hamza, reportedly a head of communications for the terror group. However there was conflicted reporting about both how he died – and at whose hands.

According to Mareeg News, “Somali army forces backed by Kenya and Ethiopian troops under African Union force ambushed dozens of militants with battle-wagons between Jilib and Haramka in the region. The militants were reportedly planning to carry out terror attacks on army bases in the region.” Radio Shabelle said that at least six missiles were fired.

Meanwhile Goobjoog asserted that “warplanes reportedly bombed Jilib district in Middle Juba region the shelling targeted a suspected al-Shabaab official named Ibrahim Abu Hamza, the head of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab network. Reports indicate that the officer was dead at the point; meanwhile, the federal government security official has not commented still the incident.”

Meanwhile Radio Dalsan noted that “Officials said Abu Hamza was targeted while traveling in a convoy outside Jilib district, although other high-ranking militants had accompanied him on the trip, only the death of the communications chief was confirmed. The attack was coordinated with a ground offensive targeting the militants camp killing several others in the compound.”

Nairobi News, reporting several days after the attack, noted: “Mr Ibrahim Abu Hamza, who until his death served as the militant group communications chief, was in the company of other high-ranking militants when they were attacked. Reports indicate that Abu Hamza was targeted while traveling in a convoy outside Jilib district. Although other high-ranking militants had accompanied him on the trip, only the death of the communications chief was confirmed. Identification of the officers who were killed during the attack is ongoing. ‘The attack was coordinated with ground offensive targeting the militants’ camp killing several others in the process,’ officials said on Wednesday.”

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–4

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports mention that the incident took place either in Jilib or near Jilib on the road to Xaramka/Haramka and targeted a convoy. There are two settlements in Jilib district with this name: 0.623998, 42.749343 and 0.628814, 43.174456. It is unclear which of the two settlements is the one referred to. Therefore the coordinates given as location for this incident are for the town of Jilib: 0.494527, 42.777868. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The villages Xaramka/Haramka and the town Jilib in Jilib district (main roads marked in yellow)

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Kenyan Military Forces
  • Kenyan Military Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–4

Sources (7) [ collapse]