Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM356

Incident date

November 9, 2022

Location

285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu, Galgaduud, Somalia

Geolocation

4.483513, 46.227249 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Additional Geolocations

4.512549, 46.283599 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least 17 militants were killed by US AFRICOM declared airstrikes approximately 285 kilometers northeast, possibly in Basra, Balad district and/or in Ceel Gorof (Galmudug) on November 9, 2022.

AFRICOM released a statement two days after the incident, November 11th, that “Somali National Army forces were engaged with al Shabaab fighters in a remote area approximately 285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu on Nov. 9. At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against the al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking the Somali forces. Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed 17 attacking al Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

Unlike recent statements, AFRICOM does not provide a specific location name for the incident. @Vatescorp tweeted that although AFRICOM did not confirm the location, there were reports that airstrikes were conducted on November 9th and 10th IVO Wabxo, Galgaduud. Geolocation narrowed the referenced location from AFRICOM to the vicinity of Ceel Gorof (the Gorof well) and Wabxo village, which are very close to each other and approx 285 km northeast of Mogadishu.

A tweet from @BCFinucane pointed out that in a later part of the statement, AFRICOM refers to al-Shabaab as being capable of attacking “Somali, East African, and American civilians”, yet “if the reference to the threat from Al Shabaab to US civilians is an allusion to the 2020 attack on Manda Bay, that seems like a stretch”.

The National News Media added that the strike came a few days after al-Shabaab killed five soldiers in Mogadishu and a little over a week after al-Shabaab was responsible for a mass casualty car bombing.

On the same day as the strike, National News Media reported that the Somali army released a statement that they had killed at least 20 militants and took back al-Shabaab controlled towns in central Somalia. A tweet from @ArlaadiMnetwork Abdikamil Moalim Shukri, spokesman for the ministry of internal security, who they said announced that at least 47 al-Shabaab militants were killed by an operation carried out by NISA (the National Intelligence and Security Agency) and international friends in Basra, Balad district. @HarunMaruf added that the government also announced that in addition to the 47 militants killed in Basra, 50 militants were killed in Ceel Gorof (Galmudug).

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    17–97

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Ceel Gorof (Gorof well) and the village of Wabxo, located close together, in the Galguduud region, approximately 285 kilometres northeast of Mogadishu. The generic coordinates for the Gorof well are: 4.483513, 46.227249. The generic coordinates for Wabxo are: 4.512549, 46.283599. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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

Somali National Army forces were engaged with al Shabaab fighters in a remote area approximately 285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu on Nov. 9. At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against the al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking the Somali forces.


Working with the Somali National Army, U.S. Africa Command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed 17 attacking al Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.

U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote greater security for all Africans.

Al-Shabaab is the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world and has proven both its will and capability to attack Somali, East African, and American civilians.

Somalia remains key to the stability and security in all of East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to defeat al-Shabaab.

U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of this operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.

U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    17–97

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM355

Incident date

November 3, 2022

Location

near the villages of Cadale, Mora-Erri, Garas Magan, and El Hareeri, Hiiraan, Somalia

Geolocation

2.760694, 46.322374 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between eight and 200 al-Shabaab militants were killed by declared US airstrikes in support of Somali forces near the villages of Cadale, Mora-Erri, Garas Magan, and El Hareeri on November 3, 2022.

AFRICOM released a statement two days later, on November 5th, that “In support of the Federal Government of Somalia’s ongoing operations against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Cadale, Somalia, on Nov. 3, 2022. The command’s initial assessment is that the Somalia National Army-requested strike killed 15 attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

Hiiraan Online News reported that “Abdullahi Ali Anod, a spokesman for the defence ministry told reporters in Mogadishu that 100 al-Shabab fighters were killed during the “intense operation” in the Garas Magan and El Hareeri villages of the Hiran region and that drones were striking the militants during the fight. Another member of the Somali military, Major Ahmed Abdullahi Beeryare, commander of the 16th battalion of the US-trained Danab commandos, told local media in Hiiiraan that “the number of al-Shabab fatalities could be as high as 200.” Hiiraan added that new organizations had not yet verified the government casualty claims.

Reuters reported that al-Shabaab stated that they killed dozens of Somali army soldiers and macawisley fighters during clashes with the army and that eight of their own fighters were killed by US airstrikes. Reuters also mentioned that the Somali national army posted photographs of the bodies of alleged al-Shabaab fighters on their Telegram channel.

The US airstrike came as Somali Armed Forces were advancing to Adanyabal, an al-Shabaab stronghold, after Somali troops took over Qura’dhere and Habal-Hussein villages that same day, according to @dhoorebbc.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–200

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Cadale, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.760694, 46.322374. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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

In support of the Federal Government of Somalia’s ongoing operations against al-Shabaab, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense strike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Cadale, Somalia, on Nov. 3, 2022.
The command’s initial assessment is that the Somalia National Army-requested strike killed 15 attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.
U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote a more secure and stable Africa.
Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack partner and U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests.
Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.
U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–200

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM354

Incident date

October 23, 2022

Location

near Buulobarde, Hiiran, Somalia

Geolocation

3.855029, 45.568398 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least two al-Shabaab militants were killed by a declared US airstrike near Buulobarde, Somalia on October 23, 2022.

AFRICOM released a statement that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde, Somalia, about 218 km north-northwest of Mogadishu, on Oct. 23. The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed two attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.” AFRICOM also added that “U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.”

Voice of America reported that leading up to the strike, al-Shabaab launched two major attacks in Somalia, including the siege at the Tawakal Hotel on Sunday in the southern coastal city of Kismayo and a triple bombing in the town of Beledweyne. In response, the Somali National Army and its allied militia have launched an offensive against the group, and the Military Times quoted the Somali Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism who released a statement that government forces had reclaimed territories in the Hiiraan (where the strike occurred) and Middle Shabelle regions in the Hirshabelle State.

Horumar added that just a day after the strike occurred, the Somali government announced that they had killed over 100 al-Shabaab militants in 48 hours in Hirshabelle State, in conjunction with “international friends”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–100

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of the town of Bulobarde, for which the generic coordinates are: 3.855029, 45.568398. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde, Somalia, about 218 km north-northwest of Mogadishu, on Oct. 23.
The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed two attacking al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.
U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote a more secure and stable Africa.
Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests. U.S. Africa Command, alongside its partners, continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians.
Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.
U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–100

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM353-C

Incident date

October 1, 2022

Location

near Haramka, Middle Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.793681, 43.383796 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

One high ranking al-Shabaab leader was killed by declared US and Somali airstrikes near Haramka in Middle Juba on October 1, 2022. Local sources also reported that another man named Ibrahim Hassan Dahir was also killed but are conflicted as to his status as a militant or civilian.

According to AFP, a top al-Shabaab leader named Abdullahi Yare who had a $3.0 million US bounty on his head was killed by a joint airstrike near Haramka. AFP described Yare as a co-founder of the group who was believed to be next in line to take over the leadership of the movement from the current chief Ahmed Diriye, who has been in charge since 2015. Garowe Online added that Yare had been in hiding and the Long War Journal quoted the Somali government in noting that he was acting as the head of al-Shabaab’s da’wah (proselytizing) department at the time of his death.

The Somali Ministry of Information said that “this leader… was the head preacher of the group and one of the most notorious members of the Shabab group. He was former head of the Shura council and the group’s director for finances.” @MOISOMALIA (Twitter for the Ministry of Information) posted that “Abdullahi Nadir, a top leader of #Alshabab terrorists” was killed by “Somali National Army and international security partners.”

Local sources, including @dhoorebbc, reported that in addition to Yare, the airstrike also killed Ibrahim Hassan Dahir. @InsightInstitue tweeted that Ibrahim is the son of Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former extremist leader who is currently under house arrest and that Hassan is the brother in law of Yare.

Sources were conflicted as to whether Ibrahim Hassan Dahir was a militant or a civilians. Various posts on Somalispot reported about Ibrahim, with one stating that Yare and Ibrahim were traveling together and “Dahir Aweys son was called by Shabaab from Muqdisho to treat injured terrorists” while another stated that “Ibrahim Hassan was a professor and known to be a relatively normal guy who just owned farms and wasn’t known to be affiliated with Shabaab that went about his business.” Another post wrote that because “Abudullahi Nadir guy – who was reported to be married to the sister of Sheekh Hassan Dahir Aweys – the son of Hassan Dahir Aweys was under surveillance for both American and Somali intelligence services” and that “it doesn’t look like the son of Hassan Dahir Aweys was the target himself.”

@OmarKiyow tweeted that Ibrahim had recently graduated from university and owned farmland in the area of the strike. A tweet from @Lowkey0nline also refers to Ibrahim as being a civilian and lists his title as “Dr. Ibrahim Hassan”.

AFRICOM released a statement October 3rd, two days after the incident, that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against the al-Shabaab militant network in Somalia on October 1. The strike occurred near Jilib, about 370 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu. The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed an al-Shabaab leader and that no civilians were injured or killed.” The majority of other sources that reported on the incident identified the location as near Haramka, which is about 50 miles from Jilib.

The Long War Journal noted that al-Shabaab has not yet commented on Yare’s reported death.

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 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    Somali Military Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Wanted posted for Abdullahi Yare, leader of al-Shabaab allegedly killed by a US-Somali airstrike near Haramka on October 3, 2022. (Image posted by Long War Journal)
  • Ibrahim Hassan Dahir Aweys was reportedly killed in a declared US airstrike in Lower Shabelle on October 1, 2022. (Image posted by @InsightInstitue)
  • Ibrahim Hassan Dahir Aweys (left) and his father Hassan Dahir Awerys (right). Ibrahim was reportedly killed in a declared US airstrike in Lower Shabelle on October 1, 2022. (Image posted by @InsightInstitue)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the vicinity of the town of Haramka, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.793681, 43.383796. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against the al-Shabaab militant network in Somalia on October 1. The strike occurred near Jilib, about 370 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu.
The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed an al-Shabaab leader and that no civilians were injured or killed.
U.S. Africa Command takes great measures to prevent civilian casualties. Protecting innocent civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote a more secure and stable Africa.
Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests. U.S. Africa Command, alongside its partners, continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians.
Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab.
U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.

U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with partners, counters malign actors and transnational threats, responds to crises, and strengthens security forces in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Somali Military Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Somali Military Forces
  • Somali Military 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 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    Somali Military Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM352

Incident date

September 18, 2022

Location

near Bulabarde, Hiran, Somalia

Geolocation

3.855029, 45.568398 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

AFRICOM declared conducting an airstrike on September 18th 2022 against Al-Shabaab terrorists who who were reportedly attacking the Somalia National Army forces near Buulobarde, Somalia. The US confirmed responsibility for killing 27 militants in this strike, according to the US, with the Somalia National Army saying that over 100 militants were killed in the whole operation which lasted over 72 hours. There were other reports in local and national media that 75 militants were killed in one of the operations within this time period, in the same location.  It is unclear to the extent of the US involvement beyond the strike that they have declared.

There were no reports of civilian casualties from these strikes.

The Federal Republic of Somalia released a press release on September 19th 2022 which stated “Somali National Army has conducted offensive operations in Yasoman and Aborey in Hiran Region in the last 72 hours. SNA has killed in this operation more than 100 members of Al-Shabab who wre terrorising the local people. Air support from United States of America has assisted this operation led by SNA. The Government of Somalia appreciates the US Government for its continual support in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.”

The US released a statement a few days later, on September 22nd, confirming that they conducted an airstrike in the Hiran region “at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia… against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde.” The US military reported that the airstrike was during a battle between Al-Shabaab fighters and Somali government forces.

One local source on Twitter, @HassanIstilla reported that “four people, including traditional elders, were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine on Saturday (17th) near Buq-aqable district in Hiran region. Al-Shabab denied responsibility and claimed that a US airstrike killed them. AFRICOM, or SNA did not announce an airstrike in the region.” However, the US and SNA operation was announced by the SNA on 19th, and the US confirmed their involvement on the 22nd.

AFRICOM reported that it was the largest combined military operation in the region in five years.

The @SomaliGuardian reported on Twitter that “Al-Shabaab says that it has killed 18 soldiers, wounded 20 others in fighting with govt troops, under cover of US air support, near the twon of Boco in Hiran region. It adds that Gorgor commander in the region is among casualties. No comment from SNA.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    27–100

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • US AFRICOM released press release declaring airstrike in the Hiran region, confirmed killing 27 militants on September 18th 2022 (Image via Twitter)
  • In one of the operations, Somali military said that it killed 75 militants in an operation on 18th September near Burlobade town (Image via @ShabelleMedia / Twitter)
  • In one of the operations, Somali military said that it killed 75 militants in an operation on 18th September near Burlobade town (Image via @ShabelleMedia / Twitter)
  • In one of the operations, Somali military said that it killed 75 militants in an operation on 18th September near Burlobade town (Image via @ShabelleMedia / Twitter)
  • In one of the operations, Somali military said that it killed 75 militants in an operation on 18th September near Burlobade town (Image via @ShabelleMedia / Twitter)
  • Press release from the Federal Republic of Somalia delcaring the operation and confirming the support of the US Forces (Image via @MOISOMALIA / Twitter)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Bulobarde, for which the generic coordinates are: 3.855029, 45.568398. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    27–100

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM351

Incident date

September 9, 2022

Location

Mubarak, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.917140, 44.772843 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Up to 10 civilians, including a child, were killed and up to 20 others were injured in alleged Somali and/or US airstrikes or drone strikes on the village of Mubarak on September 9, 2022. Sources are conflicted as to whether one of the people, Abdullahi Sheikh Abukar known locally as ‘Arab” was a member of al-Shabaab or a civilian.

Voice of America quoted Somalia police spokesman Sadiq Adan Ali Doodishe who said that Somalia’s elite military unit had conducted an operation against al-Shabab, killing two senior commanders – a senior al-Shabab commander known by the name “Carab” (other sources refer to him as “Arab”), and Aw Maaye, who was in charge al-Shabab’s extortion operations in Mubarak – and wounding 10 others, in addition to freeing civilian hostages who may have been hurt during the operation. Voice of America also reported that according to local media and residents, an airstrike was part of the military operation and that al-Shabaab claimed that the airstrike killed 10 civilians and wounded 20 others, including “truckers and farmers” according to @HarunMaruf quoting al-Shabaab.

An investigation done by journalist Mohamed Gabobe for Mepa News details the incident: around sunset in Mubarak, “a meeting was underway at a bus station with local hawkers and drivers to settle a dispute amongst the group, that’s when I heard a loud bang” according to one of the drivers of the lorry transporting vegetables (pseudonym Abdullahi Mohamed). Abdullahi recalled seeing numerous corpses and wounded people, all civilians, and he himself sustained injuries from shrapnel. The chairman, Haji Gafow and deputy chairman Hassan Abukar that were tasked with presiding over the meeting for the drivers and hawkers where instantly killed in the (drone) strike. Locals in the town began helping the wounded into a vehicle to be taken to Mogadishu for treatment but as they approached the Arbiska locality near Mogadishu about four or five military style vehicles cut them off the road, forced them to pull over, and took all the victims by force to the government run Medina Hospital. “Upon arriving at the government run Madina hospital, Abdullahi said many of the wounded civilians brought in from Mubarak where profusely bleeding, some could barely even speak and where in a state of shock, while others where unconscious. As soon as they entered the hospital, the security personnel at the government run Madina hospital began taking pictures of the victims when they were brought in, with some of the security personnel even heckling the wounded victims and calling them “Al-Shabaab”, which Abdullahi felt was a form of humiliation. Later on officers from the specially trained Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Somali police force began interrogating the wounded civilians as they lay stretched out on the bed. Questioning them on whether they had any ties to Al-Shabaab, taking photos of them, while others where even finger printed, Abdullahi says.”

Another witness named Abdirashid Hassan (not real name), whose younger brother Mahad Hassan (not real name) was wounded in the same drone strike, told Mepa News that the wounded victims “were intercepted by security forces as they approached the Arbiska locality. The wounded victims were seized and transferred to the government run Madina hospital in Mogadishu. After arriving at the government run Madina hospital, security personnel began asking the victims all sorts of questions that pertained to their identities and any links to Al-Shabaab. They even had a list ready, Abdirashid says. The matters were made worse by the officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) assigned to interrogate the wounded victims, he goes on to say.” His younger brother Mahad sustained serious shrapnel wounds that struck an area under his heart that caused him to lose consciousness and memory loss. When describing the incident, Abdirashid said “In the past, they would hear engines roaring in the distance, signaling a drone was in the area or a strike was imminent, forcing everyone to flee or take cover. However, Abdirashid said this time around it differed. In Mubarak, residents have fallen victim to numerous drone strikes over the years but the velocity of this air raid was never seen before.” Abdirashid named the killed civilians as “Osman Sidow, Aden Gajeelo, Madey Hassan Goobe, Hassan Figlow, Haji Gafow, Abukar Hassan, Hassan Haji Ibrahim and his young son, an individual from the nearby village of Darasulam named Abukar Abdimasud and Abdullahi Sheikh Abukar known locally as ‘Arab”, specifically refuted the government’s claim of ‘Arab’ as being a militant, adding that the closest Al-Shabaab base was two kilometers away.

A senior Somali government official speaking on the condition of anonymity told Mepa News that the meeting between drivers that transport people, crops and other goods from the Lower Shabelle region to Mogadishu included a high-profile al-Shabaab member who was the target, as well as confirming that there was intel about a high number of civilian casualties.

Radio Dalsan reported that a drone strike hit a bus station, killing eight people and seriously wounding nine people who were admitted to Medina Hospital, and that the families of the victims and the media have been denied access to the hospital wards by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). A resident of Mubarak who rushed the victims to Mogadishu told Radio Dalsan “I want to tell the government that the problem that occurred in Mubarak Yesterday, massacred civilians, and the majority of the drivers who were gathering for a meeting when they were targeted with the bombs. 8 people have died. 9 people who got injured in the attack are receiving treatment. I have heard that the CID is saying these people are Al-shabaab. I want to confirm to the Somali government that these people are innocent civilians who have no links to Al-shabaab.”

Anadolu Agency reported that residents in Mubarak told them that “several civilians were killed and more than a dozen others were injured” during the strike, and that they were taken to hospitals in Mogadishu for treatment. A video by Dalsan TV reported that 10 civilians were injured and at least five were killed by an attack by a US drone while Kulmiye News reported that some of the airstrikes hit civilian homes in the Mubarak area, killing three civilians and injuring 10 others.

According to the Somali Guardian, the US air strike hit a meeting of local drivers that transport residents between the  agricultural town of Mubarak and Mogadishu, inflicting casualties on civilians, with some sources reporting up to seven killed and 20 wounded.

The Somali Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism released a statement that “Special Forces of the Somali National Army have destroyed al-Shabaab’s financial center in Mubarak area of Lower Shabelle region of South West State of Somali, killing the leader of al-Shabaab in the area and wounding nearly a dozen…..The wounded included Osman Daud who was the most senior al-Shabaab member in Mubarak and Aw May who was responsible for al-Shabaab’s extortion of money.” Somali police spokesman Sadiq Adan Ali Doodishe added that “at the time of the operation al-Shabab was holding civilians hostage for extortion but the army freed the hostages. Some of them were hurt during the operation.”

Sources are conflicted as to who was responsible for this incident. The Somali government initially released a statement taking credit for the raid, as well as acknowledge that civilians were injured. However, multiple sources have directly referred to US as being responsible for the civilian casualties, or have referred to the operation as being aided by drone, which only the US has the capabilities of.

This incident is the first allegation of civilian casualties resulting from US airstrikes since President Biden announced the redeployment of American special forces to Somalia.

The incident occured at approximately 5:00 pm local time.

  • Haji Gafow Age unknown killed
  • Hassan Abukar Adult male killed
  • Osman Sidow Age unknown killed
  • Aden Gajeelo Age unknown killed
  • Madey Hassan Goobe Age unknown killed
  • Hassan Figlow Age unknown killed
  • Hassan Haji Ibrahim Age unknown male killed
  • Son of Hassan Haji Ibrahim Child male killed
  • Abukar Abdimasud Age unknown from the nearby village of Darasulam killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 10
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–20
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–10

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Statement from Somali Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victims of the alleged US or Somali airstrike on Mubarak on September 9, 2022. (Image posted by Mepa News)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Mubarak, for which the generic coordinates are: 1.917140, 44.772843. Due to limited satellite imagery and information 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
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 10
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–20
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–10

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM350

Incident date

August 14, 2022

Location

Beledweyne, Hiran, Somalia

Geolocation

4.741004, 45.201998 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–14

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • "Somalia’s troops say they have killed 14 #Alshabab members including their leader Mohamed Wasuge in an offensive operation near Mahas district, on Sunday. Earlier, the State Media had reported US airstrike in the region to support Somali Army’s counterterrorism operations." @HBNonline / Twitter
  • "Somalia’s troops say they have killed 14 #Alshabab members including their leader Mohamed Wasuge in an offensive operation near Mahas district, on Sunday. Earlier, the State Media had reported US airstrike in the region to support Somali Army’s counterterrorism operations." @HBNonline / Twitter
  • "Somalia’s troops say they have killed 14 #Alshabab members including their leader Mohamed Wasuge in an offensive operation near Mahas district, on Sunday. Earlier, the State Media had reported US airstrike in the region to support Somali Army’s counterterrorism operations." @HBNonline / Twitter

Geolocation notes

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:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–14

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM348

Incident date

July 17, 2022

Location

Labi-Kus, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

-0.355928, 42.546960 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

An AFRICOM declared US airstrike in coordination with Somali Army commandos resulted in the death of up to five Al-Shabab fighters near Labi-Kus village on July 17, 2022.

Somali National News Agency (SONNA), a Somali government-run news agency, tweeted that “three #Alshabab terrorists were killed and one was captured after Somali National Army’s commandos (#DANAB) attacked a roadblock which terrorists used to extort money from the local people near Labi-Kus village under #Kismayo town , on Sunday “. Graphic images accompanying the tweet show the bodies of two alleged members of Al-Shabab.

A tweet from Somali National Television (@sntvnews1) reported that two Al-Shabab fighters were killed in action in the vicinity of the Jubba River Valley and no civilians were killed, adding that the operation was carried out by the Somali National Army’s Danab brigade. Shabelle Media Network tweeted that five militants were killed and one was captured alive, and that at least four assault rifles and a PKM machine gun were also seized in the operation. Somaliweyn added that that intelligence that led to the operation was based on the movement of the weapons they seized.

Horseed Media specified that the Somali Forces that were involved was the the 5th Division, 16th Battalion and that a statement issued by the Danab military command said that they killed “least 5 members of Al-Shabaab, including the officer in charge of the area”. According to Kulmiye News Network, one of the militants killed was the “leader of Al-Shabaab in charge of financial affairs in this area, whose name was shortened to Ismail”.

AFRICOM released a statement on July18th stating that “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Libikus, Somalia July 17, 2022…The command’s initial assessment is that two al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in action and that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.” However, none of the reporting prior to the press release mention US involvement, with many sources, including the Somali government-run news agency (SONNA), indicating that Somali forces were responsible.

This was the second incident declared by AFRICOM since US President Joe Biden ordered the redeployment of troops to Somalia in May.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of the body of an alleged Al-Shabab member killed during a US and Somali operation in Lab-Kus village on July 17, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of the body of an alleged Al-Shabab member killed during a US and Somali operation in Lab-Kus village on July 17, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)
  • Image of what may the goods seized during the UUS and Somali operation against an Al-Shabab roadblock in Labi-Kus on July 17, 2022. (Image posted by @SONNALIVE)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Labi-Kus, allegedly located within the vicinity of Kismayo city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Kismayo are: -0.355928, 42.546960.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Libikus, Somalia July 17, 2022.
U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in defense of designated partner forces.
The command’s initial assessment is that two al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in action and that no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred.
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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–5

Sources (12) [ collapse]