Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM334

Incident date

February 11, 2021

Location

سااكوو, Sakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.640397, 42.452334 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Several Al Shabaab militants were reported killed at Sakow in a military strike which several local sources claimed was a US drone action. However AFRICOM explicitly denied this in an email to Airwars, insisting that “U.S. Africa Command’s last airstrike in Somalia was conducted Jan. 19, 2021.”

Geesguud initially reported: “Residents in Middle Jubba reported a suspected US airstrike in their vicinity on Wednesday. Locals from the Sakow district reported hearing the rumblings of fighter jets late in the evening, followed by artillery shelling and bombs. The residents believe US forces were targeting Al-Shabaab bases in their surrounding area.”

Warsan Radio also claimed that most strikes had been carried out by US drones and others by fighter jets.

Somaliland wrote that “dozens of al-Shabaab members including their commanders are feared dead after four missiles hit their stronghold towns in Sakow and Salagle localities.”

Badweyn Times was alone in alleging civilian harm, though blamed local Somali forces: “Reports from Sakow district in middle Jubba, Somalia indicate that there are significant reports of heavy shelling on children and other civilians. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a children’s home in Sakow district.  Out of the above 80 children were killed, while declare that there was still a number of serious offenses. Many children spoke out when the announcement was made after it was important as an emergency, according to one resident.

Security sources say Colonel Abdullah Dahir Abdullah (Ugas Abdalla) is responsible for the planned insult and the whole air strike. The site of the bombing was said to be caring for orphans between the ages of 5 and 12 and also part of a food service for the elderly people in the town.”

Highly unusually, no other media or local sources reported civilian harm in this event from any party despite Badweyn’s claim of high civilian deaths. While Airwars includes this claim here for completion, we do not presently consider this to be a valid civilian harm allegation.

The incident occured around midnight.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6–12

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Sakow (سااكوو) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Sakow are: 1.640397, 42.452334.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. Africa Command's last airstrike in Somalia was conducted Jan. 19, 2021.

Somalia Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Somalia Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6–12

Sources (7) [ collapse]