Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM337

Incident date

April 3, 2021

Location

Bariire, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Airwars assessment

Clashes between Somali government forces, Al-Shabaab forces, and unknown airstrikes resulted in the reported deaths of up to 47 government soldiers and the injury of 11 other government soldiers, as well as the claimed death of 77 Al-Shabaab fighters in Bariire on April 3, 2021.

Hussein Mohamed, a journalist for the New York Times in Somalia, reported on airstrikes on Bariire town on April 3rd just hours after Al-Shabaab launched an attack on a Somali military base that resulted in the death of over 50 soldiers. The Uganda People’s Defence Force also reportedly shelled Al Shabaab positions in Bariire.

Deutsche Welle reported that “In Bariire, witnesses said the militants managed to enter the camp and torch some of the military supplies. Separately, the groups said it has captured military vehicles and supplies in the attacks.”

Al Jazeera included a quote from Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, who said that “We overran Bariire base, burnt three military vehicles and took two vehicles.” Al-Shabaab used a vehicle-borne suicide-bomb attack at the Bariire base and briefly occupied the base. At the same time, they launched an attack on the nearby Awdhigle base so that troops there couldn’t reinforce Bariire.

Resident Abdirahim Malin told Al Jazeera “we heard a heavy explosion caused by a suicide bomber ramming a car at the entrance to the base and a heavy exchange of gunfire followed. A few minutes later the militant fighters managed to enter the camp and torched some military supplies belonging to the Somali army.”

General Mohamed Tahlil Bihi, commander of the government’s infantry forces, told The Associated Press “we lost nine of our soldiers and 11 others got wounded from our side” while Musab, al-Shabab’s spokesman, said that they killed 47 government troops. General Mohamed Tahlil Bihi also announced that the government forces “killed 60 of their militias on one spot and 17 others near the other base”. It is unclear what role the airstrikes played in causing casualties.

Following the attack, AFRICOM told Hussein Mohamed that the US did not conduct any airstrikes in Somalia that date. Alex Ward, a reporter for Vox, provided the same statement from AFRICOM. While this strike may the pattern of previous US actions in Somalia, other international actors are also active, including Kenya and Uganda.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    86–124
  • Belligerents reported injured
    11

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • Damage caused by fighting between Al-Shabaab and government forces, as well as unknown airstrikes on Bariire on April 4, 2021. (Image posted by Garowe News)
  • Damage caused by fighting between Al-Shabaab and government forces, as well as unknown airstrikes on Bariire on April 4, 2021. (Image posted by Garowe News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victims of the fighting between Al-Shabaab and government forces, as well as unknown airstrikes on Bariire on April 4, 2021. (Image posted by Horseed Media)
  • Prime Minister of Somalia visits soldiers wounded in Al Shabaab attack on Awdhiigle and Barire military bases. (Image posted by MM Dhoore via Twitter)
  • Prime Minister of Somalia visits soldiers wounded in Al Shabaab attack on Awdhiigle and Barire military bases. (Image posted by MM Dhoore via Twitter)
  • Prime Minister of Somalia visits soldiers wounded in Al Shabaab attack on Awdhiigle and Barire military bases. (Image posted by MM Dhoore via Twitter)
  • Prime Minister of Somalia visits soldiers wounded in Al Shabaab attack on Awdhiigle and Barire military bases. (Image posted by MM Dhoore via Twitter)

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    86–124
  • Belligerents reported injured
    11

Sources (10) [ collapse]