Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM283-C

Incident date

February 28, 2020

Location

حرمك, Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

0.7928186, 43.3841839 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Two airstrikes were declared the same day by US Africa Command, in partnership with the Somali government, which were said to have targeted al Shabaab in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow.

According to two pro Shabaab sources, at least one of the strikes targeted Kunya Barrow itself – alleging that a 70 year old woman and a child were injured. It was also claimed that a drone had crashed on the town.

According to the AFRICOM press release, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28… Initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

According to Somaliweyn, “At least two people have been killed and two others injured in [airstrikes] in the central Somali town of Kunyo Barrow on Monday.” Radio Kulmiye said four were killed and three injured – though made no mention of the combatant status of the casualties.

However according to Morad News and Somali Memo – both news sites viewed as pro-Shabaab – two civilians were injured. Morad asserted that “Suspected #US drone strike reported in Kunya-Barow town in #Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. Two civilians, elderly woman and child wounded, taken to a local clinic – Witnesses Say”.

And Somali Memo claimed that “This afternoon, a drone crashed into a suburb of Kuunya Barroow, about 90 kilometers off the coast of Barawe. A journalist in the Lower Shabelle region said the shelling injured a 70-year-old woman and a minor. Witnesses said the victims were taken to a local hospital for treatment.”

The claims came at a time when al Shabaab was attempting to promote claims of high and indiscriminate civilian harm from US actions.

SONNA state media said the two strikes had targeted senior al Shabaab operatives, while according to the Somali Ministry of Information, an early afternoon strike near Kunya Barrow “killed two AS militants while also destroying one vehicle.” This may therefore represent the second event declared by AFRICOM.

According to the third and fourth quarterly civilian casualty assessment, the incident is currently under review from AFRICOM.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • 'US bombardment of civilians again in the south #Somalia'
  • 'Heavy shelling in Lower Shabelle region '
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020
  • Al Shabaab statement claiming high levels of civilian harm in Somalia from US actions: February 29th 2020

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the village of Kunya Barrow (حرمك), for which the coordinates are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839. 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
    Under investigation
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • Aug 28, 2020
  • February 28, 2020, USAFRICOM received three allegations from an online media source and social media accounts claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on February 28, 2020.

  • Feb. 28, 2020, USAFRICOM received three (3) reports from an online media source and social media accounts claiming two (2) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Feb. 28, 2020. USAFRICOM’s assessment is ongoing.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, Feb. 28.
“The support the U.S. provides to our partners in our cooperative efforts to enhance security throughout Africa is unmatched by our competitors and is vital to not only East African security but to protecting the America forces on the continent and abroad,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of intelligence.
Al-Shabaab leadership has expressed its primary desire is to conduct attacks not just in East Africa, but against Americans and U.S. interests across the globe. Currently, our command assesses the al-Qaeda-aligned group lacks the capability to strike the U.S. homeland due to the persistent pressure placed on the group led by our African partners.
Initial assessment concluded these airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists.
We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (13) [ collapse]