Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM214

Incident date

April 14, 2019

Location

3 km away from Xiriiro, on the way to Hol Anod, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

9.974438, 50.277735 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

The US military carried out an airstrike against ISIS-Somalia in the vicinity of Xiriiro, Bari Region, killing one high value militant and at least one other alleged fighter.

According to AFRICOM – which took the unusual step of publicly naming the target within 24 hours of the operation – the strike killed Abdulhakim Dhuqub, second in command of ISIS-Somalia who was reportedly responsible for daily operations of the extremist group, including attack planning and resource procurement.

The press release further asserted that only Dhuqub was killed in the attack, and that one vehicle was also destroyed. US Africa Command said it currently assessed that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

AP indicated that two or more died in the strike: “Puntland’s security minister Abdisamad Mohamed Galan also confirmed the killing of the extremist leader in the U.S. airstrike, which said also killed other members of the group, without giving further details. The airstrike occurred as the extremists were traveling to their base in the remote mountainous villages in the region, said a Somali intelligence official. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.”

According to Voice of America, two people died in the attack: “Abdisamad Mohamed Gallan, security Minister of the Puntland region, told VOA Somali the airstrike that killed Abdihakim Mohamed Ibrahim,  known as Dhoqob, took place Sunday between the villages of Hol Anod and Hiriro.

“Gallan said the strike hit the vehicle Dhoqob and another passenger were travelling in. He said both men were killed but the other person has not yet been identified. ‘The vehicle was burned,’ said a witness who didn’t want to be named.”

VOA reporter Harun Maruf also tweeted a video which he said showed the burnt out shell of the struck vehicle on a remote sandy road: “Video purportedly shows the burning vehicle that Abdihakim Dhoqob (aka Abdihakim Dhoqobeed) was riding in when hit by an airstrike near Hiriro village, Bari region. Puntland Security minister Abdisamad Mohamed Gallan tells me that Dhoqob was killed in the strike.”

According to Reuters “A witness said a 4×4 vehicle was hit by several missiles 3 km (2 miles) outside the village of Xiriiro in the Qandala hills at 1 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Sunday.”

“Several missiles hit a Suzuki car. Then helicopters hovered over the scene,” Mohamed Iid, a resident of Xiriiro, told Reuters. “It was a deafening air strike. We reached the scene after the helicopters left. The car completely melted.”

Fox News noted that “Not much is known about Dhuqub; his name does not appear on the State Dept.’s Reward for Justice website normally reserved for top terrorists and there is not much information publicly available online. ISIS-Somalia is a relatively small terrorist group consisting of roughly 125 fighters, according to officials.”

The Long War Journal provided some context foir the strike: “Dhuqub, whose real name was Abdihakim Mohamed Ibrahim, was the overall deputy emir of ISS. He assumed this role after the death of the previous deputy emir, Mahad Moalim, in Mogadishu late last year… In 2018, ISS was able to expand its operation across Somalia. Last year, it claimed 66 offensives alone; while in the previous two years combined it only claimed 39 attacks. It also also been able to reach into central Somalia, which was previously untouched by the Islamic State wing, as well as Mogadishu and its surroundings. According to local officials, it has also been collecting taxes on civilians and businesses in rural Puntland as well as in the port city of Bosaso.

“Its operational tempo has not slowed despite a renewed Shabaab effort against the group. So far this year it has already claimed 26 assaults, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. Yesterday’s strike that killed Dhuqub was the first by the US military that targeted ISS’ network in Somalia since Nov. 2017. AFRICOM hit ISS four times that month. No senior ISS leaders were killed in those strikes.”

The incident occured at approximately 1:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • Burnt out vehicle in which ISIS number two in Somalia Abdihakim Dhoqob died in a US strike on April 14th 2019 (via VOA)
  • Reported site of a confirmed US strike on April 15th which killed ISIS's deputy leader in Somalia (via Garowe)
  • Burnt out shell of vehcile destroyed in a US strike in Somalia, April 15th 2019 (via Garowe)

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a vehicle between the villages Xiriiro and Hol Anod (or Hul Canood), 3 kilometers outside of Xiriiro in the Qandala hills. The coordinates for Xiriiro are: 9.97824, 50.25085; the coordinates for Hol Anod/Hul Canood are: 9.68385, 50.60734. And the coordinates for the area 3 kilometers outside of Xiriiro, on the way to Hol Anod, are: 9.974438, 50.277735. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The villages Xiriiro and Hol Anod, with surrounding roads marked in yellow and a 3 kilometer radius around Xiriiro marked in red

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • The coordinates for the area 3 kilometers outside of Xiriiro (marked in red), on the way to Hol Anod, are: 9.974438, 50.277735

    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

"U.S. confirms airstrike against ISIS-Somalia’s Abdulhakim Dhuqub.
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade violent extremist organizations, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike in the vicinity of Xiriiro, Bari Region, Somalia, on April 14, 2019, killing Abdulhakim Dhuqub, a high ranking ISIS-Somalia official."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM106

Incident date

November 27, 2017

Location

Hills around Dasaan, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

11.174141, 49.827153 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

On the same day, AFRICOM reported that it had “conducted an airstrike against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 27”. It added that “the strike occurred at approximately 3 p.m. local Somalia time” and made no mention of civilian harm. However, it did claim that the strike had “killed one terrorist”.

Reuters placed the attack near Qandala: “Colonel Ali Abdi, a military officer in an area near the town of Qandala in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, said the strike took place in hills near the town. ‘We heard a huge crash of air strike in the hilly areas of Dasaan remote area behind Qandala town this afternoon'” Abdi told Reuters from Dasaan. ‘After the strike the IS militants ran away from there. We went to the scene and saw pieces of a dead body.’

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM said it had struck what it says were al Shabaab fighters on this date, in the vicinity of Boholle, Somalia.

The incident occured at approximately 3:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in Northeastern Somalia, in the hilly areas of the remote Dasaan area, in the vicinity of the village Boholle (11.16484, 49.81994). The coordinates for Dasaan are: 11.174141, 49.827153. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • The hilly areas around Dasaan and Boholle

    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

U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 27, killing one terrorist.

The strike occurred at approximately 3 p.m. local Somalia time.

U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.

Our political and security goals in Somalia are the same: a reconstituted Somali state at peace internally and able to address all threats within its territory.


Via FOIA response May 2019:
"11/27/2017 AS fighters IVO Boholle, Somalia. al Shabaab fighters."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM102

Incident date

November 12, 2017

Location

Golis Mountains, Puntland, Somalia

Geolocation

11.060894, 49.184169 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Two US strikes took place in Somalia on November 12th, with one targeting al Shabaab and the other hitting Islamic State, according to US Africa Command. The strikes killed “several” fighters, it said.

The first strike against al Shabaab is recorded in a separate event. The second attack was carried out at approximately 0900 local time against Islamic State in Somalia’s Puntland region, AFRICOM said.

This and the four additional strikes between November 9th and November 12th killed “more than 40 terrorists,” a Pentagon spokesperson told reporters on November 13th. He did not say how many people were killed in which of the five strikes, “for operational reasons,” an Africom spokesperson told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on November 15th.

Four of the 40 dead were members of the Islamic State group – they are counted in this entry. The rest were in al Shabaab. We have logged 19 previously unreported casualties in this entry as well, while the exact accounting of fatality to strike remains secret.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM said it had struck what it says were Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS-S) fighters, in the vicinity of the Golis Mountains.

The incident occured at approximately 9:00 am local time.

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
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    23

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • CGTN All Africa report on recent US strikes in Somalia, including against ISIS

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the region Puntland, for which the generic coordinates are: 10.163098, 50.114936. A subsequent FOIA response points to  its own public reporting of airstrikes in northern Somalia, AFRICOM tends to cite only ‘the vicinity of the Golis Mountains’ – instead of the nearest settlement usually provided for elsewhere. The Golis Mountains extend from the border with Ethiopia into Somaliland, and then eastwards to Puntland. Given that both ISIS and Al Shabaab are reportedly present more in Puntland, or on the Puntland/Somaliland borders, it is likely this strike took place in that region. In this respect, and in combining the information available from sources of alleged militant activity in the South-west and South-east of Bosaso, and several mentions of Galgala, we have chosen a generic middle point, for which the coordinates are: 11.060894, 49.184169. Due to limited satellite imagery, and public reporting available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.  

  • Combining the information available from sources of alleged militant activity in the South-west and South-east of Bosaso, and several mentions of Galgala, we have chosen a generic middle point.

    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

Via email:
"U.S. forces conducted two separate airstrikes against al-Shabaab and ISIS, in Somalia on Nov. 12, killing several terrorists. The first strike occurred at approximately 3 a.m. local Somalia time against al-Shabaab in the Lower Shabelle Region about 40 miles west of the capital Mogadishu. The second separate strike occurred at approximately 9 a.m. local Somalia time against ISIS in Puntland."

Via May 2019 FOIA:
"11/12/2017 ISIS-S fighters IVO Golis Mountains, 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
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    23

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM097

Incident date

November 3, 2017

Location

Buqa, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

11.73944, 50.59111 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

On November 3rd 2017, AFRICOM reported that it had “conducted two separate airstrikes against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 3”. It made no mention of civilian harm.

However, AFRICOM stated that the strikes had killed “several terrorists”, though it was “currently assessing the results of the strikes”. The command added: “The first strike occurred at approximately midnight local Somalia time with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m. local Somalia time.”

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM said it had struck what it says were Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in Somalia (ISIS-S) fighters, in the vicinity of the Golis Mountains.

Intelligence sources told VOA the second round of strikes killed fighters gathered at a place believed to be a burial site for those killed in the overnight strike (separately listed by Airwars for November 2nd 2017)..

Associated Press spoke to a Somali security official who said at least six missiles hit Buqa, described as a remote mountainous village roughly 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Qandala town in Puntland. Intelligence sources told VOA at least four missiles hit caves in Buqa Valley.

The Puntland region’s president told VOA the leader of the ISIS group was the target of the strikes, but that he had not been killed. “They [US] were targeting those troublemakers and their biggest leader Abdulkadir Mumin, they were looking for them,” Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told VOA. “Based on the information I’m getting he is still alive and is not dead.” An unnamed US official had separately told AP the strikes may have targeted top leaders of the group.

A senior Somali intelligence official also told VOA it was “likely” Mumin survived the attack, but believed up to 20 fighters were killed in the strikes. They added that some of the caves they were sheltering in collapsed on them as a result of the bombing. The official believes two foreign fighters were also targeted in the area, including a Sudanese fighter.

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
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–20

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a remote mountainous village called Buqa, 60 kilometers north of the town Qandala. The village of Buqa is likely alternatively called Buqcatooti and can be found at these coordinates: 11.73944, 50.59111, just over 60 kilometers north of Qandala. 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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted two separate airstrikes against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 3, killing several terrorists.

The first strike occurred at approximately midnight local Somalia time with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m. local Somalia time.

We are currently assessing the results of the strike.

U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF); targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world.

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
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–20

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM096

Incident date

November 2, 2017

Location

Buqa, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

11.73944, 50.59111 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

The US conducted its first known strike against so-called Islamic State in Somalia. CNN reported that both strikes were carried out by armed drone.

According to Associated Press, “A US official said the strikes were carried out in northeastern Somalia, with the first around midnight local time and the second later in the morning. The official was not authorised to discuss the mission publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.”

The news agency added that “A Somali security official says at least six missiles struck in Buqa, a remote mountainous village roughly 60km (37 miles) north of Qandala town in Somalia’s northern state of Puntland. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media. The US Africa Command said “several terrorists” were killed in the strikes. It said they were carried out early on Friday in northeastern Somalia in coordination with Somalia’s government.”

AP was not clear as to whether only the latter or both strikes took place at Buqa.

Voice of America noted the following: “The chairman of the town of Qandala, Jama Mohamed Qurshe, told VOA Somali that several missiles had hit a base for IS militants at Buqa village, 60 kilometers south of his town in the semiautonomous region of Puntland. ‘According to the information we are getting from the ground, six missiles hit the militants’ base in the mountainous area. Local residents and pastoralists were shocked and fled from the area,’ Qurshe said. He said that prior to the strike, residents reporting hearing airplane sounds. Details of the strike were still not clear — locals said the remote area was accessible only to the militants — but local officials and residents suspected the airstrike targeted the group’s senior leaders and perhaps even its top leader.”

According to a Freedom of Information FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, this US strike took place on November 2nd 2017 in the vicinity of the Golis Mountains against Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in Somalia (ISIS-S) fighters.

The incident occured at approximately 11:59 pm local time.

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
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • CNN report on the first US strikes on ISIS in Somalia

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in Buqa, a remote mountainous village, around 60 kilometers north of Qandala in Puntland. A subsequent FOIA response pointed to the vicinity of the Golis Mountains (9.883695, 44.889961), however, this region is not in Puntland. The village of Buqa is likely alternatively called Buqcatooti and can be found at these coordinates: 11.73944, 50.59111. VOA is the only source that says that Buqa is 60 kilometers south of Qandala, rather than north. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Buqa/Buqcatooti in Puntland, north of Qandala, east of the Golis Mountains

    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

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted two separate airstrikes against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 3, killing several terrorists.

The first strike occurred at approximately midnight local Somalia time with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m. local Somalia time.

We are currently assessing the results of the strike.

U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF); targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world.

According to a Freedom of Information FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, this previously unknown US strike took place in the vicinity of the Golis Mountains, Somalia against Islamic State of Iraq and ask-Sham (ISIS-S) fighters.

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
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    6

Sources (9) [ collapse]