Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM309-C

Incident date

May 17, 2020

Location

حرمك, Near Kunya Barrow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Six civilians were allegedly injured after a US airstrike near Kunya Barrow.

Somali Memo, a news outlet close to Al Shabaab, said: “Last night, Drone planes bombed a civilian residence in the town of Kunya Barrow.

Sources say several missiles hit the home and injure four civilians, including a mother and three children. The injured are recovering in a local hospital.”

Later Somali Memo updated the number to six.

Morad News tweeted: “BREAKING: Suspected #US drone strike reported in #AlShabaab-controlled town of Kunya-Barrow overnight. Several people injured including women and children – Witnesses. #Somalia”

AFRICOM stated in its press release: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, May 17.

The command’s initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed two (2) terrorists.

U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

In its civilian casualty assessment third quarter report AFRICOM said the incident was currently under review.

In the following civilian casualty report AFRICOM stated: “After review, the reports were assessed as unsubstantiated. Contrary to the reports stating the airstrike targeted a mother and her children in their home, the airstrike conducted on May 17, 2020 targeted two al-Shabaab members in a known al-Shabaab compound utilized by the group to plan attacks in Mogadishu. No civilians were observed in the area or interacting with the al-Shabaab compound. U.S. intelligence confirmed that the only casualties of the strike were al-Shabaab members, and it is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action. Additionally, the initial source of the reports is known to be sympathetic to al-Shabaab. Further, forensic analysis indicates that at least some of the photographs had been deliberately manipulated.”

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (20) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Picture of an alleged victim of US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Picture of an alleged victim of US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Picture of an alleged victim of US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Building allegedly damaged by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Halgan Media)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Munition fragement allegedly found after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Injury allegedly sustained from US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Damaged building after US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Chilld allegedly injured by US strike on Kunya Barrow on May 17th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Kunya Barrow (حرمك), for which, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The coordinates for Kunya Barrow are: 0.7928186, 43.3841839.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • Jul 28, 2020
  • May 18, 2020, USAFRICOM received five allegations from an online media source and social media accounts claiming either five (5) or six (6) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on May 17, 2020.

  • May 18, 2020 (Unsubstantiated) USAFRICOM received five (5) reports from an online media source and social media accounts claiming either four (4) or up to six (6) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on May 17, 2020. After review, the reports were assessed as unsubstantiated. Contrary to the reports stating the airstrike targeted a mother and her children in their home, the airstrike conducted on May 17, 2020 targeted two al-Shabaab members in a known al-Shabaab compound utilized by the group to plan attacks in Mogadishu. No civilians were observed in the area or interacting with the al-Shabaab compound. U.S. intelligence confirmed that the only casualties of the strike were al-Shabaab members, and it is assessed with a high degree of confidence that no civilian casualties occurred as a result of U.S. military action. Additionally, the initial source of the reports is known to be sympathetic to al-Shabaab. Further, forensic analysis indicates that at least some of the photographs had been deliberately manipulated.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists in vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, May 17.
“The U.S. support to our Somali partners is and will remain strong,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command.
The command's initial assessment concluded this airstrike killed two (2) terrorists.
U.S. Africa Command currently assesses no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
“U.S. Africa Command affords our partners over-watch and added precision capabilities,” said Col. Christopher Karns, director of public affairs, U.S. Africa Command. “This enemy has no regard for the lives of innocent Somalis and the group presents a threat to the Somali people, the U.S., and interests abroad.”
U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires providing programs and opportunity for the Somali people.
In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use a range of effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia and Somali National Army forces. Together with the partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development while preventing al-Shabaab's desire to expand their reach and further export violence.
U.S. Africa Command continues to work with its Somali partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (11) [ collapse]