Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM263

Incident date

December 28–29, 2019

Location

Vicinity of Caliyoow Barrow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

0.593694, 43.050194 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

In apparent retaliatory strikes against al Al Shabaab for a mass casualty bombing in Mogadishu a day earlier, the United States said that it had conducted three strikes against al Shbaab commanders, killing four people in total.

This entry relates to one strike in the vicinity of Caliyoow Barrow in Lower Shabelle. it later emerged that the target was al Shabaab’s chief bomb maker, Mohamed Siidow.

According to an AFRICOM press release issued on the same day as the attack, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes in two (2) locations targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow and Caliyoow Barrow, Somalia, respectively, Dec. 29.”

“Initial assessment concluded two airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists and destroyed two (2) vehicles in Qunyo Barrow; and one airstrike killed two (2) terrorists in Caliyoow Barrow. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes. We comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations to ensure the safety of civilians.”

It added that “These precision airstrikes targeted al-Shabaab militants responsible for terrorist acts against innocent Somali citizens and coordinating with al-Qaeda.”

In what may be a separate or related incident, according to one local source, Somalia Terror Updates, two strikes took place “in the vicinity of Moqokori in Hiiraan region.” Since this is not in Lower Shabelle this would appear to be a different event.

The alleged al Shabaab suicide bombing on December 28th 2019 caused the largest single loss of civilian life of the year – with at least 81 people slain. However there was later some doubt over whether al Shabaab was responsible, with VOA reporter Harun Maruf tweeting on December 30th that “Somalia’s intelligence agency says it has submitted a preliminary report indicating that a foreign country ‘planned’ Saturday’s bombing in Mogadishu. NISA didn’t publicly release the evidence pointing towards the involvement of a foreign country.”

In mid January 2020, Somali media reported that the target of the attack had been a senior al Shabaab bomb maker. The Horn Observer for example reported that “Mohamed Siidow another militant bomb expert who was killed in a strike at Caliyow Barrow village.” Local sources also placed this event slightly earlier, at December 28th.

The incident was first reported on December 29, 2019 at 3:00 pm by Harun Maruf of VOA.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • 'We submitted to the national authorities, an initial report indicating that the massacre of the Somali people in Mogadishu, 28 Dec-2019, was planned by a foreign country. In the ongoing investigation, we will work with some of the world's intelligence agencies.'

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Caliyoow Barrow, allegedly in the vicinity of Kunyoo Barrow village, within the district of Lower Shabelle. The generic coordinates for the district are: 1.768333, 44.390000. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (13) [ collapse]