Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM021-C

Incident date

January 21, 2012

Location

Kismayo, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.355651, 42.545703 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

In this single-source claim, six people were allegedly killed as an airstrike carried out by US or Kenyan forces, struck near the al Shabaab stronghold of Kismayo, Sheikh Mohamud Abdi, a senior al-Shabaab commander, claimed to Reuters.

It is not known whether the strike was by US or Kenyan forces. Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October amid concerns that Somalia’s 21-year-old civil war was spilling over the countries’ border.

The combatant status of the claimed six victims is unknown. The original source for this allegation is also not presently recoverable.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the city of Kismayo, for which the coordinates are: -0.355651, 42.545703. 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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM020

Incident date

January 21, 2012

Location

Elasha Biyaha, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.083813, 45.205288 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A British al Shabaab fighter, Bilal al-Berjawi, was killed by a US drone strike in or near the town of Elasha Biyaha, 15km south of Mogadishu, local and international media reported. There were no reports of civilian harm.

Three missiles fired from a drone operated by JSOC killed British-Lebanese militant Bilal al-Berjawi, also known as Abu Hafsa. The US intelligence services and military had had him under surveillance for days according to the Associated Press. Al-Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage later said that “‘around 1400, a US drone targeted our mujahideen. One foreigner, a Lebanese with a British passport, died.” A witness who gave his name as Osman told the New York Times there were two strikes: “One hit a car, which I believe held explosives.”

The strike was also confirmed to AP by a US official in Washington.

Berjawi was known to have been injured in US airstrikes in June 2011 and was suspected to have sought medical assistance in Nairobi at that time.

The Guardian reported that Berjawi’s wife had given birth to a child in a London hospital a few hours before the attack, prompting suspicions that his location had been pinpointed through a telephone conversation between the couple. The killing caused a rift within militant circles, reports suggested, with al-Shabaab calling an emergency meeting after the drone strike amid accusations that some leaders “may be involved in this latest killing to pursue their own goals.”

In February 2013 an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and published by The Independent revealed that al Berjawi had had his British citizenship stripped by the UK’s then Home Secretary. A British-Lebanese citizen who came to the UK as a baby and grew up in London, Berjawi left for Somalia in 2009 with his close friend British-born Mohamed Sakr, himself killed by a US drone in February 2012. The friends were among dozens of people to lose their British citizenship at the order of successive Home Secretaries.

In July 2012, al Shabaab executed three militants whom they accused of spying for the CIA and MI6. Ishaq Omar Hassan, 22, and Yasin Osman Ahmed, 23, were accused of working for the Americans. Al Shabaab official Sheikh Mohamed Abu Abdallah said they “had fixed a device on Bilal el Berjawi’s car and then he was killed by a plane in Elasha six months ago.” Abu Abdallah also alleged that 33-year-old Mukhtar Ibrahim Sheikh Ahmed had been working for British intelligence.

In 2015, investigative reporter Ryan Gallagher revealed in The Intercept that leaked US intelligence documents showed that Berjawi had been labelled Objective Peckham prior to his targeted assassination.

The incident occured at approximately 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
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Archived Somalia Report story via Wayback
  • Somalia Report on rifts within militant circles following the death of Berjawi (via Wayback)
  • Screengrab from propaganda video of al-Berjawi training in Somalia
  • In 2015 The Intercept obtained secret documents detailing the US killing of al-Berjawi

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that two strikes occurred near the town of Elasha Biyaha, near Mogadishu and Afgooye. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location of the strike. Maps show two education institutes called Elasha Biyaha between Mogadishu and Afgooye, for which the coordinates are: 2.083813, 45.205288.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

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
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM019

Incident date

November 14, 2011

Location

Afgooye, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.14158, 45.118698 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Two al Shabaab leaders were possibly killed in an alleged US or French-launched air or drone strike in Afgoye, Lower Shabelle, local and international media reported. No sources reported civilian harm.

Missiles were fired at a training camp in Afgoye, Lower Shabelle, according to al Shabaab. An initial report from the Suna Times stated: “US drone attack killed leaders Ahmed Godane and Hassan Dahir Aweys.”

However, these claims were later disputed. Michael Logan, then editor of Somalia Report, later tweeted “Looks like the deaths of al-Shabaab leaders were greatly exaggerated by the TFG, as usual.” A junior al Shabaab member allegedly told Somalia Report that the group suffered “some casualties.”

Associated Press debated who was responsible for the alleged strikes, with both French and US officials publicly suggesting the other nation may have carried out the attacks.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–4

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Original Suna Times report via Wayback
  • Archived Somalia Report via Wayback

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the town of Afgooye, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.14158, 45.118698. Strike likely occurred along the road between the two Agoi of Afgooye towns, as Laantbuur is listed where the strike hit. Geolocated to Afgooye as the closest major city. 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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–4

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM018

Incident date

October 23, 2011

Location

Kismayo, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.355651, 42.545703 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

At least one al Shabaab militant was reportedly killed as Shabaab positions in Kismayo, Jubaland, were subject to aerial shelling, international and local media reported. There was disagreement about whether the US, France or Kenya were to blame

A local resident told Reuters: “A jet bombarded an al Shabaab base near the port. It dropped a huge shell, flew past, came and then dropped another shell…The whole town shook. We’ve never heard anything like it. Everyone ran away.”

The strikes in Kismayo were said to have killed at least one al Shabaab militan, according to some sources including Bloomberg. Meanwhile the terror group denied any casualties. “There were no casualties,” an al Shabaab source in southern Somalia told Reuters. “We fired at the plane after the second bombardment and it has not come back.” No civilians were reportedly harmed.

Kenyan military spokesperson Major Emanuel Chirchir said the strike was in support of a Kenyan Defence Force advance in southern Somalia, while attributing blame to either the US or France.  The spokesperson told the New York Times “everybody is in theatre… they are complementary.” Kenya also said in a statement cited by the New York Times that the French Navy had also shelled rebel positions from the sea.

Chirchir would not however identify who had carried out the airstrikes, while noting that: “Everyone knows who is fighting the terrorists, they are the same partners who are always fighting al Qaeda.”

Two senior American officials in Washington told the New York Times that the US had not carried out the attacks. The French also denied they carried out the strikes or were responsible for a naval bombardment in the preceding days.

Finally, several sources, including Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Farah Dahir, a Somali army spokesperson, said Kenyan jets were responsible for the attack that killed an al Shabaab commander. Al Shabaab also said a Kenyan jet launched the strike.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, French Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a base near the Kismayo seaport. The generic coordinates for the city of Kismayo are: -0.355651, 42.545703. 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

French Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    French Armed Forces
  • French Armed 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, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, French Armed Forces, Kenyan Military Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM017-C

Incident date

October 22, 2011

Location

Afmadow, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.514539, 42.074264 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

In this single-source claim, Somalia Report reported that at least 11 civilians died and more than 20 others were wounded after a possible US drone attacked Afmadow town in Lower Juba region.

An eye witness, Mohamud Abdirahman, told Somalia Report: “I have seen 11 bodies and we believe that it was a US airstrike.”

Locals said they had sighted what they believed to be US drones loitering above the area in the previous few days. Al Shabaab had reportedloy been the target of the attack.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    11
  • Civilians reported injured
    20
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Archived claim via Wayback

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the alleged strike took place in Afmadoow, for which the coordinates are: 0.514539, 42.074264. 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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    11
  • Civilians reported injured
    20
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM015-C

Incident date

October 6, 2011

Location

Dolbiyow, 35 kilometers east of Dhobley, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.411441, 41.327456 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Four Somali farmers were reported to have been killed in a possible drone strike in Dolbiyow Village, 35km east of Dhobley according to Somalia Report, while one was reportedly injured.

The farmers and their camels were killed moments after al-Shabaab fighters fled the area in vehicles, witnesses said. However, a TFG official told Somalia Report that Al-Shabaab had instead mortared the village.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Archived Somalia Report claim via Wayback

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the town Dolbiyow, 35 kilometers east of Dhobley (0.411429, 41.008691). Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of Dolbiyow. The coordinates for the area 35 kilometers east of Dhobley are: 0.411441, 41.327456.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM013-C

Incident date

September 15, 2011

Location

Kismayo, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.355651, 42.545703 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

A single source reported that nine civilians died in alleged US drone strikes on Kismayo.

According to the source Antiwar.com, “Eyewitnesses in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo have reported a number of missile strikes, apparently fired by US drones in and around the city. Terrified residents say that several loud explosions were heard in the area.

“The militant faction al-Shabaab, which is in control of the area, says the drones hit on the outskirts of the town and killed at least nine civilians, including women and children. 30 others were reported wounded in the strikes.”

AFP reported that residents of Kismayo heard “the sound of aircraft and heavy explosions… We heard planes flying over Kismayo and minutes later there were at least three explosions,” resident Mohamed Ali told AFP by phone. “The aircraft fired heavy missiles into a jungle area where the Shebab established training camps, but we don’t know more,” Abdikarim Samow, another resident, told AFP.

Armed drones were operating from Mahe in the Seychelles (along with those used purely for surveillance), the Washington Post reported: “In the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean…a small fleet of ‘hunter-killer’ drones resumed operations this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned aircraft could effectively patrol Somalia from there.”

Seychelles foreign minister Jean-Paul Adam denied the drones were armed. However, a 2009 diplomatic cable stated the US “would seek discrete [sic], specific discussions … to gain approval’ to arm the Reapers in the Seychelles ‘should the desire to do so ever arise”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    9
  • (2 children2 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–30
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–30

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a jungle or the outskirts of Kismayo. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location of the strike. The generic coordinates for the city Kismayo are: -0.355651, 42.545703.

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
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    9
  • (2 children2 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–30
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–30

Sources (4) [ 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
    None known
  • 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
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (6) [ collapse]

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • 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
    United States Armed Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–4

Sources (6) [ collapse]