On August 14th 2022 there were reports that a US airstrike killed 13 to 14 members of Al Shabaab in the town of Beledweyne, in Hiran region of central Somalia, as reported by a state-owned national television. US AFRICOM confirmed this strike on August 17th in a statement which said that “US forces engage insurgents in support of the Federal Government of Somalia.”
There were no reports of civilian harm.
Garowe Online reported that initial reports in the media said that the airstrike left two militants dead and several hideouts destroyed, but it was later confirmed by Somalia state media that “over 13 militants were killed”, and that the attack happened at 2pm. Garowe Online reported:
“Today around 2 PM local time, two Al Shabaab terrorists were killed and their hideouts were destroyed in US airstrike to support the Somali National Army’s counterterrorism operations in Hiiraan region,” state media noted in a tweet without many details.
“The death toll of Al Shabaab terrorists who were killed in Sunday’s airstrike in Hiran region has reached 13 terrorists, officials have confirmed to State Media, ” the Somali National TV further reported, in one of the greatest crackdowns against the militants this year.”
@HBonline and the local news outlet, Somaliland, were the only sources to report that 14 Al Shabaab militants were killed in this attack, rather than 13.
It was noted in local and international media that there was no immediate US AFRICOM statement on this reported strike in its aftermath.
This strike is the second US AFRICOM incident in a week, with the last declared incident on August 9th (see USSOM349).
The incident occured at approximately 2:00 pm local time.
Sources (18) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the city of Beledweyne, for which the generic coordinates are: 4.741004, 45.201998. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists that were actively attacking Somali National Army forces in a remote location near Teedaan, Somalia, Aug. 14.
The command’s initial assessment is that the strikes killed 13 al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed. U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in defense of designated partner forces.
The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.
The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians.
Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to Somali, regional and U.S. interests.