Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM322

Incident date

November 6, 2020

Location

غندرشي, Gandarshe, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.8349369, 44.9668452 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A CIA paramilitary officer was killed in Somalia as a result of a joint ground raid with Somali special forces, it was later reported. Four elite Somali Danab troops also died during the event.

Sources close to Al Shabaab first reported on the incident. Somali Memo said: “Reports from Gandarshe area say that a suicide attack was carried out by allied forces in the area.

An improvised explosive device (IED) vehicle driven by a suicide bomber struck an American and Alpha Group militia.

An official statement from the Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Command said that the attack killed five soldiers, including an American soldier and 4 members of the Alpha Group militia, the statement said.

Reports say an explosion injured three Somali soldiers and an American soldier who were taken to Halane Camp.

The allied forces returned from Gandarshe with bodies and wounded, and military equipment was found at the scene of the attack, the sources added.

Residents said they heard the sound of US warplanes patrolling the area at midnight and the sound of a large explosion targeting them.”

The New York Times later wrote: “The officer was a member of the C.I.A.’s paramilitary division, the Special Activities Center, and a former member of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6. The identity of the officer remained classified, and the circumstances of the killing were ambiguous. It was unclear whether the officer was killed in a counterterrorism raid or was the victim of an enemy attack, former American officials said. The C.I.A. declined to comment.”

The Intercept gave details of the CIA officer’s apparent identity: “Michael Goodboe, a 54-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked for the CIA’s paramilitary unit, died after succumbing to injuries from an improvised explosive device, according to the two sources. The two sources requested anonymity because of the sensitivity around the attack and because they were not authorized to disclose Goodboe’s death… One of the people familiar with the attack said Goodboe was flown to Germany, where the U.S. has a military hospital, and later died of his injuries.”

Somali Memo said on November 26th that: “Although the exact location of the killing has not yet been announced, it is believed that he was killed in the Lower Shabelle region as part of a night raid by US forces and the Bangaraaf militia in areas controlled by Islamic law.”

On December 4th, The Guardian revealed both the date and location of the failed raid, citing local intelligence officials: “The [CIA] officer was deployed alongside Somali and US special forces during the operation at Gendershe, a coastal village about 30 miles south-west of Mogadishu, and died when fighters from the al-Shabaab extremist movement detonated a car bomb minutes after the raid began on 6 November, the official said. A Somali intelligence officer who works with the US-trained Somali ‘Danab’ special forces unit in Lower Shabelle said: ‘Our officers were supported by the US officers. We flew at 2am that night. The soldiers disembarked from the chopper and went on foot in the bush before a huge explosion went off and killed the American friend and four of our [Somali] officers.'”

The UK-based newspaper added that “Somali officials said the operation was launched following information that three senior al-Shabaab commanders would be in Gendershe that night. Among them was Abdullahi Osman Mohamed, an expert bomb-maker believed to be responsible for many of the powerful devices that have killed hundreds of civilians in Somalia in recent years…. But the Gendershe raid was a failure. After a 40-minute firefight, the US and Somali forces withdrew. ‘The operation was not successful. We did not get them,’ a second Somali officer said.”

The Guardian also cited al Shabaab commanders: “Al-Shabaab sources confirmed the clash, and claimed they had ambushed the US and Somali forces after learning of the operation in advance. ‘American soldiers accompanied by Somali forces raided an al-Shabaab base in Gendershe. We had received intelligence that they were coming. We were ready and a fierce gun battle broke out. A number of officers were killed including the CIA officer,’ Abu Mohamed, an al-Shabaab commander in Lower Shabelle, told the Guardian.”

The incident occured at approximately 4:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (18) [ collapse]

  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Gear and body parts of soldiers killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Gandarshe (غندرشي), for which the coordinates are: 1.8349369, 44.9668452. Due to limited information and satellite imagery 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
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]