Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM011

Incident date

June 28, 2011

Location

Taabta, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.305181, 41.440288 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

In a news feature looking at drone strikes in Somalia, Somalia Report stated that on this day, “another [US] attack occurred in Taabta village in the Afmadow District of Lower Juba.” The report indicated that the target was al Shabaab.

“AFRICOM does have terrorism in its list of applications and as of June JSOC’s hunter killers have been quietly tucked up inside the brass bloated command. On April 6th [2011] shortly after the exploitation of data from captured al qaeda cel phones and laptops, three dozen al shabaab members were killed. On June 24th, helos from Camp Simba took out a Shabaab convoy 4 days later another attack occurred in Taabta village in the Afmadow District of Lower Juba.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the village of Taabta, for which the coordinates are: 0.305181, 41.440288. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM010

Incident date

June 21–23, 2011

Location

Kismayo, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.404956, 42.498817 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

In the first known lethal drone strike in Somalia, Predators struck a militant training camp 10km south of Kismayo. Further missiles reportedly hit a second target near the airport. At least one member of Al-Shabaab was killed – possibly “many” – and up to three were wounded, according to local and international media. There were no reports of civilian harm.

Several sources reported at least one militant’s death while other pointed to “many”. Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, Somalia’s deputy defence minister, told AP the strike killed “many” foreign fighters. “I have their names, but I don’t want to release them,” he claimed.

Ibrahim al Afghani, also known as Ibrahim Haji Jama Mead, a senior leader in al Shabaab, was reportedly wounded or killed, although Strategic Forecasting claimed on August 11th 2011 that Afghani was alive and had replaced Ahmed Abdi Godane as the emir of al Shabaab.

Al Shabaab did not respond to either report, though Afghani has not appeared in public since. Somali Report, however, cited an al Shabaab official who claimed that no militants were killed.

Meanwhile, between one and three militants were wounded, according to reports. A local al Shabaab leader, Sheik Hassan Yaqub, reported two wounded while resident Mohammed Aden reported seeing three wounded militants. Among them was British citizen Bilal al Berjawi, killed in a subsequent US drone strike in January 2012.

There was no public announcement of the strike by the US. However, an anonymous  “senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation” told the Washington Post “a U.S. drone aircraft fired on two leaders of a militant Somali organization tied to al-Qaeda, apparently wounding them”.

The Washington Post added: “Both of the al-Shabab leaders targeted in the attack had ‘direct ties’ to American-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, the military official said.” However, the Post reported that “The White House declined” to respond to questions about the attack.

US helicopters reportedly landed after the strike, with troops retrieving some dead and injured. The strike was the first joint mission conducted by JSOC and the CIA, CNN claimed.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM said it had conducted a strike on what it says was an “al-Shabaab name objective”, in Ras Matooni, Somalia on June 21st 2011. This is the closest match we have for this strike.

It remains possible that there were other US actions – perhaps covert – around this time. The Long War Journal said that a “Predator” strike occurred on June 25th. And Somalia Report flagged an incident the previous day, asserting that “On June 24th, helos from Camp Simba took out a Shabaab convoy.”

The incident occured between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–3

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a convoy near a training camp 10 kilometers south of Kismayo. A subsequent FOIA response pointed to the vicinity of the area Ras Matooni (-0.46484, 42.47665). The coordinates for the area 10 kilometers south of Kismayo are: -0.404956, 42.498817. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

On June 30th 2011, the Washington Post reported:

A U.S. drone aircraft fired on two leaders of a militant Somali organization tied to al-Qaeda, apparently wounding them, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation said Wednesday.

The strike last week against senior members of al-Shabab comes amid growing concern within the U.S. government that some leaders of the Islamist group are collaborating more closely with al-Qaeda to strike targets beyond Somalia, the military official said.

The action was publicly confirmed in a DoD FOIA response in 2019.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–3

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-099

Incident date

May 28, 2011

Location

بني وليد, Bani Walid, Misurata, Libya

Geolocation

31.75805, 13.983513 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On May 28th, 2011, a demonstrated near the market in Bani Walid lead to the death of 13 civilians, who were shot by Gaddafi aligned forces.

A UN report from 2011 reported the casualty, stating “Together with 12 other young men, an injured man sought refuge in a room on the second floor of a nearby commercial building. Qadhafi forces, reportedly from the Al Fateh Brigade, stormed the building. One of the demonstrators told the Commission that his brother was amongst those who sought refuge in the building.  He spoke to his brother by phone, trying to reassure him. While he was speaking to his brother, the phone went dead. The interviewee was informed later that all the men in the room had been shot dead. One of the soldiers of the Al-Fateh Brigade, [003], was later arrested by the thuwar. While he was in custody, the witness had the opportunity to question him. The soldier said that he had been ordered to reassure the men in the room that they would be safe. The soldier also said that the young men had a number of rifles with them but they had no ammunition. The men had then been shot..”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    13

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town Bani Walid (بني وليد), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.75805, 13.983513. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    13

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-064

Incident date

April 8, 2011

Location

مصراتة, Misurata, Libya

Geolocation

32.374457, 15.087794 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On April 8th, a 20 month old baby boy and his grandmother were injured during crossfire between Gaddafi forces and rebel forces in Misurata. Amnesty reported on the injuries.

Amnesty reports “‘Abderrabbo Fezzani, a 20-month-old baby boy, and his grandmother were injured when they were caught in the crossfire between al-Gaddafi forces and opposition fighters in the second week of April.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM009

Incident date

April 3, 2011

Location

Dhoobley, Gedo, Somalia

Geolocation

0.411429, 41.008691 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least one militant and as many as “three dozen” were killed in an alleged US-waged airstrike in Dhobley, Jubaland, international and regional media reported. The attack marked the beginning of a concerted campaign in Somalia against al Shabaab by the Obama administration.

After a reporting gap of 18 months, US air attacks appear to have resumed. Reports of intense fighting for control of the town of Dhobley between al Shabaab and Somali forces mentioned an airstrike, which Shabelle reported had killed several militants. Somalia Report stated: “On April 6, shortly after the exploitation of data from captured al-Qaeda cell phones and laptops, three dozen al Shabab members were killed”, although later reports say only one commander was killed. Jabreel Malik Muhammed was killed in the strike, according to the Observer (Uganda).

The Long War Journal reported: “A recent report in Shabelle on the fighting in the border town of Dhobley in southern Somalia and the death of a Shabaab commander includes speculation that airpower is being employed against Shabaab fighters and commanders…Some reports suggested that during the battle, aerial strikes targeted Al Shabaab officials, killing number of Al Shabaab military officers.The Somali government and the African Union forces backing them do not possess aircraft needed to carry out airstrikes, but Ethiopia, Kenya, and the US do.”

In what may be a linked incident, All Africa reported two days after the attack that “Dozens of injured Al shabaab fighters from Dholey town, where fighting between Somali forces and Al shabaab took place one day ago, were brought to Kismayo town, about 500 KM south of Mogadishu. Sources confirmed Shabelle Media Network that the wounded Al shabaab fighters were admitted medical facilities at the center of Kismayo town.”

Somalia Report also asserted that “On April 6th shortly after the exploitation of data from captured al qaeda cel phones and laptops, three dozen al shabaab members were killed.” This may indicate a separate event several days later.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Ethiopian Military Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–36

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the border town Dhoobley, for which the coordinates are: 0.411429, 41.008691. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Ethiopian Military Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Ethiopian Military Forces
  • Ethiopian Military 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
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Ethiopian Military Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–36

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-043

Incident date

March 20, 2011

Location

البوابة الرشقية ألجدابيا, Petrol station in the vicinity Eastern gate of Ajdabiya, Al Wahat, Libya

Geolocation

30.769320, 20.261783 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On February 22nd, 2011, unknown actors killed one civilian and injured another near Ajdabiya, both of the al-Sheikhi family. Ruqaya ‘Abdelghani al-Sheikhi, a 34 year old teacher, was shot and died after being taken to the hospital.

Amnesty states “it has not always been possible to establish whether the people killed or injured were deliberately targeted, or were the victims of indiscriminate or reckless fire, or were caught in the crossfire. In some cases, it has not even been possible to establish whether the shots were fired by al-Gaddafi forces or opposition fighters.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    1

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a petrol station in the vicinity of Ajdabiya’s eastern gate (البوابة الرشقية ألجدابيا) Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Ajdabiya’s eastern gate are: 30.769320, 20.261783.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    1

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

B45

Incident date

December 5, 2008

Location

Kateera, North Waziristan, Pakistan

Airwars assessment

Three or four alleged militants were killed and two civilians were injured in an alleged US military attack on a house.

Two missiles were fired at a house in Kateera village in Khushal Torikhel area, however according to the Daily Times, it was not confirmed whether the militants killed were locals or foreign nationals.

Local media reported that militants, reportedly the Taliban, immediately cordoned off the vicinity in the aftermath of the strike.

According to data collected by the FATA government, three Turkmen were killed when a US drone targeted ‘a hideout’. One missile missed its target, landing in a nearby field.

There are no other details at this time.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (6) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM005-C

Incident date

June 1, 2007

Location

Bargaal, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

11.285364, 51.076189 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

The destroyer USS Chafee, sailing off the coast of Somalia, fired ‘more than a dozen rounds from its 5-inch gun’ on militants in Bargal, north Somalia. The New York Times also reported that cruise missiles were fired. Somali government spokesmen claimed the strikes were launched after around 35 heavily armed militants landed on the coast near Bargal and attacked local forces.

The New York Times and analyst Micah Zenko reported that a small number of US operatives – working alongside Somali forces to hunt high-value targets believed to be among the militants – came under fire, prompting the missile launch, and enabling the US and Ethiopian troops to escape. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the 1998 embassy bombings, was among the targets, according to MSNBC and Zenko. The strike killed eight to twelve alleged militants, reportedly including men from the UK, US, Eritrea, Sweden and Yemen according to the Daily Telegraph. Five militants were also captured, a Somali official told the Chicago Tribune. The US operatives comprised three counterterrorism officials who were “investigating the computers that the militants were carrying,” Hassan Dahir, the vice-president of Puntland, told the New York Times.

In 2013 it emerged that Yemeni Mansur al Bayhani was killed in this attack. He was one of 23 al Qaeda members who had escaped from prison on Yemen in 2006, according to author and Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen’s book The Last Refuge. Al Bayhani had turned himself in to the Yemen authorities and had sworn not to carry out any attacks in Yemen. Several of the 23 escapees went on to found al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

There are no known allegations of civilian harm from this incident. The Chicago Tribune cited  a local government official, who said that no civilians were injured by the strikes as the area was uninhabited.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in East Africa
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–12

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • The USS Chafee fires its 5 inch gun on a training exercise (US Navy/ Specialist Seaman Sean Furey/Flickr)
  • 'Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a suspected terrorist wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Nairobi, is shown in a photo released by the FBI on Oct. 10th 2001 in Washington, DC.'

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a mountainous area around the town of Bargaal. There is a mountain range just west of the town, however Airwars was unable to verify what area of the mountain range was struck. The coordinates for the town Bargaal are: 11.285364, 51.076189.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

Stars and Stripes, June 5th, 2007:

"A senior Defense official confirmed Tuesday that the USS Chafee, based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, fired more than a dozen rounds from its 5-inch gun during the strike."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in East Africa
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–12

Sources (9) [ collapse]