Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM040

Incident date

July 15, 2015–July 18, 2019

Location

مدينة ﺑﺮﺍﻭة, Baraawe, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.112554, 44.028921 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

At least five US drone strikes hit in the space of three days killing an undisclosed number of people. They were reportedly carried out in support of African Union troops who were advancing on Baraawe, an al Shabaab stronghold since 2009.

The strikes reportedly hit between the attack reported on July 15th and July 18th, when President Obama arrived in Kenya for an official visit.

The attacks were reported in the LA Times, citing anonymous US officials. They were confirmed by a US spokesperson who said in a statement: “Over the past week, US forces conducted a series of strikes against al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group in Somalia, in defence of Amisom forces under imminent threat of attack.”

Previous US air attacks in Somalia had been focused on decapitating al Shabaab, taking out its senior leaders. These attacks were more focused on directly supporting and protecting African Union troops on the ground. “The strikes prevented attacks by militants, which posed a significant threat to friendly forces. We are still assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information if and when appropriate,” the spokesperson said.

One US military official echoed this, telling the LA Times: “It’s a change in how we’re providing support… Up until now, we’ve focused strikes on high-value targets. These strikes were launched to defend forces on the ground.” An unnamed senior US official told the paper al Shabaab were “massing,” and “massing provides targets, and targets get struck.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–10

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the port city Baraawe, for which the coordinates are: 1.112554, 44.028921. 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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

LAt Times, July 23rd, 2015:

"The U.S. military’s Africa Command, which oversees operations on the continent, confirmed the airstrikes, but said the timing was not related to Obama’s visit to Kenya and Ethiopia.
“Over the past week, U.S. forces conducted a series of strikes against Al Shabab in defense of AMISOM forces under imminent threat of attack,” Patrick Barnes, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement. “The strikes prevented attacks by militants, which posed a significant threat to friendly forces.”"

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–10

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM038

Incident date

March 12, 2015

Location

Abaq Xaluul, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

2.30282, 42.49589 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A US Special Forces drone strike allegedly killed Adan Garaar, a senior member of al Shabaab, according to the Pentagon and Somali and Kenyan officials. The attack reportedly destroyed one or two vehicles in southwestern Somalia, killing two other alleged members of the group. There are currently no reports of civilian harm from this strike.

Garaar was described as “a top official in al Shabaab’s security service, the Amniyatt.” He had reportedly replaced Yusuf Dheeq as head of al Shabaab’s external operations, which is part of the Amniyatt, after his predecssor was killed in a February 2015 drone strike.

The Pentagon confirmed a US drone strike killed Garaar a week after the attack hit, saying in a statement: “Garar was a key operative responsible for coordinating al Shabaab’s external operations, which target US persons and other Western interests in order to further al Qaeda’s goals and objectives. He posed a major threat to the region and the international community and was connected to the West Gate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. His death has dealt another significant blow to the al Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia.”

The US military first confirmed on March 13th it had carried out the attack, but did not immediately confirm it killed Garaar. A Pentagon spokesperson said: “This operation was conducted against the al Shebaab network.” He added: “We are currently assessing the results of this operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.”

Somalia’s foreign minister Abdisalan Hadliye welcomed the news of Garar’s death, saying: “Somali government welcomes the effort by the U.S. in killing Garar and is open to lend a hand for any measures aimed at finishing Al-Shabaab in Somalia.”

Garar was reportedly connected to the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September 2013, in which at least 67 people died. He was also reportedly responsible for planning failed attacks in Nairobi and Kampala last year. The Kenyan security forces released details of Garaar’s role in the Westgate attack that suggests he was intimately involved with the minutiae of the operation, according to Standard Digital.

The Pentagon said the attack hit 240km west of Mogadishu, near the town of Dinsoor in the Bay region. However witnesses said the strike actually hit near Abaq Xaluul village outside Baadheere, in Gedo region, more than 80km further west.

Local resident Hussain Nur told Reuters: “I was on the outskirts of Abaq Xaluul village when a car drove past me and soon I heard the huge blast from a drone ahead of me… I saw the car and the three men on board completely burnt and then many armed al Shabaab fighters driving in cars reached the scene.”

The strike came on the same day al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination of Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the head of South Western State, an autonomous region within the federal government. The attackers reportedly used a car bomb to break through the gate of Aden’s compound before gunmen tried to storm the complex. Eight were reportedly killed in the assault, including the three attackers.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck on this date what it says was an “al-Shabaab named objective”, in the vicinity of Baardheere, Somalia.

The incident occured around dusk.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Al Shabaab commander Adan Garaar (via Baidoo News)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a convoy of two vehicles travelling between the towns Baardheere and Diinsoor, near the village of Abaq Xaluul, for which the coordinates are: 2.30282, 42.49589. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The village Abaq Xaluul on the road between the towns Baardheere and Diinsoor

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

On March 18th 2015, the Pentagon stated:

On March 12 at approximately 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time, working from actionable intelligence, U.S. forces using unmanned aircraft struck a vehicle carrying Adan Garar, a member of al-Shabaab's intelligence and security wing, in the vicinity of Diinsoor, Somalia. The attack was a success and resulted in the death of Garar.

Garar was a key operative responsible for coordinating al-Shabaab's external operations, which target U.S. persons and other Western interests in order to further al-Qaida's goals and objectives. He posed a major threat to the region and the international community and was connected to the West Gate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. His death has dealt another significant blow to the al Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM037

Incident date

March 10, 2015

Location

Tortoroow (and Ambereso), Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.25045, 44.69117 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A single news source reported that “unidentified armed drones” targeted two alleged al Shabaab camps.

Witnesses said the attacks hit camps in the towns of Torato and Ambereso.

The regional governor Abdikadir Mohamed Nur confirmed the strikes but said the death toll had not been confirmed, although the terror group had sustained “human and material losses.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Two alleged Al-Shabaab camps in the towns of Torato and Amereso in Somalia were struck by US drone strikes on March 10, 2015 (via World Bulletin)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Torato/Tortoroow, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.25045, 44.69117. It also mentions the village of Ambereso, for which the location is unknown. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM035-C

Incident date

January 31, 2015

Location

Diinsoor, Bay, Somalia

Geolocation

2.40735, 42.976551 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

At least four civilian casualties were reported injured or killed in a confirmed US attack on Dinsooor, though it was not clear if they were injured or killed. JSOC had targeted and killed Yusef Dheeqm, al Shabaab’s head of external operations in the drone strike.

Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed in two separate Pentagon press conferences that the US had carried out the attack and had killed a senior al Shabaab figure. The first, on February 3rd, confirmed the attack was a US operation. Kirby then declared that the US had killed its target in a second press conference on February 10th. This was the third consecutive US drone strike in Somalia to kill a senior al Shabaab figure to follow a split confirmation format – with a first briefing confirming a strike, and a second confirming the death of an al Shabaab target.

Kirby said US Special Forces had killed Yusef Dheeq and one associate. When confirming the attack, Kirby said Dheeq was targeted “with Hellfire missiles fired from UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]”. Kirby described Dheeq as al Shabaab’s “intelligence and security chief, and director of external planning”. However he said that if Dheeq “no longer draws breath,” the US military considered the strike to be a success. The strike “goes to show how long our reach can be when it comes to counter terrorism,” he added.

Before Kirby’s statement, an unnamed official told the Washington Post that Dheeq was killed while riding in a vehicle with other alleged al Shabaab members. It was not clear how many others were killed, the official added. Ahmed Adan, a Bay region official, told Anadolu Agency: “Several al Shabaab militants and a top leader have been killed in the airstrike.” The strike killed five according to an Africaine de Presse report.

Local resident Ali Yare told AFP there had been four civilian casualties in the strike. The civilians were injured he said: however it was not clear if they had died of their injuries: “We heard a very loud explosion and a few minutes later I saw cars rushing to the scene, some of them returned with casualties. Four civilians were among the casualties… We don’t know who was the target because the area was sealed off.”

See also a US confirmed strike declared for February 2nd 2014 at Dinsoor, which may in fact be this event.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 4
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–5

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Pentagon press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, confirming to reporters on February 3rd 2014 a US drone strike three days earlier, in Somalia (Image via DoD)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a convoy heading to an al Shabaab training camp near the town Diinsoor. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location of the strike. The coordinates for the town of Diinsoor are: 2.40735, 42.976551.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Stars and Stripes, February 10th, 2015:

"WASHINGTON — Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby confirmed Tuesday that the U.S. military killed a senior leader of the al-Shabab militant group last month.
Last week, Kirby told reporters that a Jan. 31 American drone strike targeted Yusuf Dheeq, the head of external operations for the al-Qaida affiliated organization, which is based in Somalia. As of last week, officials were still trying to determine whether the strike was successful."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 4
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–5

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM034-C

Incident date

January 31, 2015

Location

Dugule, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.27893, 44.523991 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A mystery airstrike reportedly killed between 40 and 60 alleged belligerents on January 31st 2015. Xinhua also reported that “scores of others were injured” in the attack, leaving it unclear whether those injured were civilians or militants. It was described by some as a US drone strike – thought the Pentagon denied this.

Abdulkadir Mohamed Nor Sidi – the governor of Lower Shabelle where the strike hit -reportedly told journalists that unmanned aircraft had targeted a training camp and a house which he said belonged to al Shabaab. The governor also claimed: “Unmanned aircraft also hit Shabaab armored vehicles patrolling the Dugule neighborhood in Toratorow village.”

The US military however denied it had carried out the attack, while confirming it was responsible for a drone strike at 9am local time in the Bay region the same day. AMISOM also denied carrying out the attack, saying it did not have the aircraft to carry out such actions. And the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF), which had launched air attacks in southern Somalia, told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that the strikes were “not within Sector II where KDF is mandated to operate”.

“I can confirm that between 45-60 al-Shabaab militants were killed during the airstrikes…. Some of their officials were killed also in the attack including foreigners,” Nor Sidi said, according to Horseed Media. A local resident told Xinhua: “There was a loud explosion from the village, and we ran away to escape fearing for our lives.”

If a UAV strike, it would have been the most lethal US drone strike since June 23rd 2009 when an attack killed at least 60 in Pakistan, according to Airwars data. Though claimed as a US action, the high death toll is more in keeping with reported Kenya Defence Force attacks against Shabaab. Though reported as a US strike, the high death toll appeared more in keeping with reported Kenya Defence Force attacks against Shabaab at around this time.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown, Kenyan Military Forces, Amisom Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    40–60

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Dugule, near Torato in the Lower Shabelle region. The generic coordinates for the village of Dugule are: 2.27893, 44.523991. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the locatioin further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Kenyan Military Forces Assessment:

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

Amisom Military Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown, Kenyan Military Forces, Amisom Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    40–60

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM033

Incident date

December 29, 2014

Location

سااكوو, Saakow, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

1.637795, 42.452829 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Up to three senior members of al Shabaab were killed by a US military drone in Saakow, Middle Juba, international media reported. There were no known reports of associated civilian harm.

The US military said that an airstrike had targeted a “senior leader” of the al Shabaab militant group. Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency later identified the target as al Shabaab’s chief of intelligence, known as Abdishakur.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed that the US had killed Abdishakur with drones in a briefing two days after the strike.

The NSA said that both Abdishakur and two other senior members of the group were killed in the strike, according to Bloomberg. An anonymous US official later told Reuters that Abdishakur and one other militant had died. A US defence official told CNN that the strike was carried out by a drone.

The previous week a senior al Shabaab figure also described as the group’s head of intelligence gave himself up to Somali authorities. The US had reportedly offered a $3m reward for information leading to his capture.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had carried out a strike on what it says was an “al- Shabaab named objective”, in Sakoow, Somalia.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the town Saakow, for which the coordinates are: 1.637795, 42.452829. 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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Pentagon officials confirmed today that a high-ranking member of the al-Shabab militant group in Somalia was killed in a Dec. 29 airstrike.
The unmanned U.S. aircraft strike near Saakow, Somalia, killed Tahlil Abdishakur, chief of al-Shabab’s intelligence and security wing, officials said in a statement.
Working from actionable intelligence, U.S. forces struck a vehicle carrying Tahlil with several Hellfire missiles, officials added.
Tahlil was responsible for al-Shabaab's external operations. “His death will significantly impact al-Shabaab's ability to conduct attacks against the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the Somali people, and U.S. allies and interests in the region," the Pentagon statement said.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM032

Incident date

September 1, 2014

Location

Sablaale, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.251506, 43.807038 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

In this strike in Barawe, Lower Shabelle, up to six al Shabaab militants were killed, including the the group’s leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane (aka Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr or Ahmed Abdi Aw Mohamed), international and local media reported. There were no reports of civilian harm.

The strike was the first known US attack in Somalia for some months, and involved both US drones and conventional air craft, flown by Special Forces operatives from JSOC, who targeted an encampment and vehicles in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. At least six people were reportedly killed in the attack, multiple sources said.

It remained unclear for days after the strike if the US had indeed killed Godane. Initially the US government, Somali government officials and al Shabaab were cagey about his apparent demise. The day after the attack, al Shabaab spokesperson Abu Mohammed confirmed Godane, above, was in the convoy when the attack hit. And a US official told Reuters: “We don’t know that he’s dead. But he was the target.”

Godane’s death was eventually confirmed on September 5th. He was the specific target, according to a Pentagon spokesperson, though the attack reportedly also killed a group of senior al Shabaab figures.

Godane, 37, trained as an accountant and worked for an airline before turning to violence, according to the Daily Telegraph. He took control of the al Shabaab group in 2008 when his predecessor Aden Hashi Ayro was killed in a cruise missile strike. He sidelined or killed more moderate rivals in his rise to the top of the terrorist organisation. The US government had put a $7m reward for information on his whereabouts.

Al Shabaab named a successor two days after the US government confirmed Godane was dead. Ahmed Umar was elected unanimously, according to a video message sent to al Jazeera. The Somali government subsequently put a $3m reward out for Umar.

While Godane’s fate was unclear for almost a week after the strike, the Pentagon was uncharacteristically transparent about the attack, with spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby making several statements, and answering questions from the press. Kirby said of the strike: “The U.S. military undertook operations against Godane on Sept. 1, which led to his death… Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss” to al-Shabab… The United States works in coordination with its friends, allies and partners to counter the regional and global threats posed by violent extremist organizations.”

Somali National Security Ministry spokesperson Mohamed Yusuf additionally told journalists: “His death is great news for the Somali people, because he was responsible for the killing of thousands of innocent people in his so-called holy war.”

Godane was in overall command of the murderous terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, in 2013. The president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta thanked the US for killing Godane: “We owe the United States and its soldiers our heartfelt thanks for bringing an end to Godane’s career of death and destruction and finally allowing us to begin our healing process.”

A possible, and surprising, element of this strike emerged on September 12th 2014. A French publication, Le Point, reported that France’s intelligence service the DGSE had given the US the precise whereabouts of Godane, under direct orders from President Francois Hollande. The article claimed that Paris had been hunting Godane to exact revenge for the kidnapping of two DGSE officers on July 14th 2009, and the death of one of them and two commandos sent to rescue him on January 12th 2013. President Hollande had ordered his intelligence services to do everything they could to find and kill Godane.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had carried out a strike on what it says was an  “al Shabaab named objective”, in the vicinity of Baraawe, Somalia on this date.

The incident occured at 5:30 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–6

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed, alias Ahmed Godane (via Voice of America)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention various locations, most of them pointing to Sablaale district and a forest area near the village Sablaale, around 105 miles south of Mogadishu. The coordinates for the village Sablaale are: 1.251506, 43.807038. One source mentions that explosions were seen and heard from the nearby village Haway (1.1682, 43.71413) and another one reports that the target had been at a meeting at Dhaytubako (0.478243, 42.92698), but doesn’t state if the meeting itself had been targeted or if it occurred afterwards elsewhere. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The village of Sablaale, slightly further than 105 miles south of Mogadishu (radius marked in red), close to the village Haway, from where the explosions were seen

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Ahmed Abdi al-Muhammad, also known Ahmed Godane, the co-founder of the al-Shabab jihadist group, was killed Sept. 1 in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby confirmed today.
“The U.S. military undertook operations against Godane on Sept. 1, which led to his death,” Kirby said in a statement. “Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss” to al-Shabab,” Kirby said in a statement. “The United States works in coordination with its friends, allies and partners to counter the regional and global threats posed by violent extremist organizations."
At a Sept. 2 Pentagon news conference, Kirby said manned and unmanned aircraft operated by U.S. special operations forces participated in an airstrike that destroyed an al-Shabab encampment and a vehicle located at that camp. Kirby added that the operation was a direct strike against the al-Shabab network, and specifically against Godane.
The operation was carried out after actionable intelligence was obtained that suggested that Godane was present at the camp, located south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the press secretary said at the news conference, noting that it was too early to tell whether the strike had killed him.
The aircraft fired several Hellfire missiles and laser-guided munitions, and no U.S. forces were present on the ground, either before or after the attack, he added.
Al-Shabab is a jihadist group based in Somalia. It has claimed responsibility for last year’s attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which resulted in more than 70 deaths and 200 injured. The group is also believed to be responsible for many bombings, including suicide attacks in Mogadishu and in central and northern Somalia, Kirby said Sept. 2.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–6

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM028

Incident date

October 28, 2013

Location

Dhaytubako, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.475148, 42.929292 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

At least two people, both reportedly al-Shabaab affiliated, were killed in a US drone strike on a vehicle in Jilib, Middle Juba region, international media reported. As of now, there are no reports about civilian harm.

Senior al Shabaab commander Ibrahim Ali Abdi (aka Anta Anta) was killed in the attack, according to Abu Mohamed, an al Shabaab militant, and Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled. Ali Abdi was widely described as al Shabaab’s leading bomb maker. He was reportedly responsible for attacks on UN and diplomatic missions, and on a presidential palace in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

An unnamed official said Ali Abdi was “a person of interest we had been tracking”, while another said the US was ‘optimistic‘ he had died in the attack. Interior Minister Guled said Somali security services provided the US with intelligence for the attack. Abu Ali, Abdi’s ‘friend’, also died in the attack, Guled added.

Four witnesses reportedly said two men in a car died, the only reported casualties. Such precision suggested a drone carried out the attack. Anonymous US officials confirmed this, briefing that it was a US Army drone strike. Local resident Hassan Nur reportedly said:

“I heard a big crash and saw a drone disappearing far into the sky, at least two militants died…I witnessed a Suzuki car burning, many al Shabaab men came to the scene. I could see them carry the remains of two corpses. It was a heavy missile that the drone dropped. Many cars were driving ahead of me but the drone targeted this Suzuki.”

The two men were apparently travelling from Jilib, around 120km south of Mogadishu, to Barawe, an al Shabaab stronghold. Barawe was where US Special Forces failed to capture a senior al Shabaab militant in a daring raid more than three weeks earlier. A Somali intelligence source told the Associated Press the men were on their way to mediate a clan dispute.

Al Shabaab announced in March 2014 that it had executed a man they claimed had helped the US launch this strike. Mohamed Abdulle Gelle, 29, was one of three men executed by firing squad for apparently spying for the US and Somali governments.

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 named objective”, in the vicinity of Jilib on October 26th 2013 which is a close match for this strike, though two days prior to all other reports. This is therefore being treated as a single event.

The incident occured between 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place on the road between Jilib and Baraawe, near the village Dhaytubako (or Dhey Tubaako), just east of the town Jilib. The coordinates of that area of the road are: 0.475148, 42.929292. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The village Dhaytubako near the road (marked in yellow) from Jilib towards Baraawe

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

CNN, October 28th, 2013:

"A U.S. military drone strike in southern Somalia killed two suspected Al Shabaab members, two U.S. officials confirm to CNN.
One of those killed was described by one of the officials as Anta, considered a top technical and explosives expert for the al Qaeda-affiliated group.
He was "a person of interest we had been tracking," the official said.
The other individual killed was not identified. However, it was not Mohamed Abdikadir Mohamed, said to be one of the most dangerous Al Shabaab commanders and known as Ikrima."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (12) [ collapse]