Somalia: Reported US actions 2020

The timeline below contains information on all US drone strikes and covert operations in Somalia recorded by the Bureau in 2020. The Bureau derives its data from open sources – predominantly media reports and, latterly, the US headquarters responsible for the war in Somalia, Africa Command or Africom.

Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. The information below represents our present best estimate. The Bureau ceased recording strikes in February 2020.

The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carrying out air strikes and ground raids in Somalia for ten years, though it has been conducting clandestine operations against al Qaeda in East Africa, and its local ally al Shabaab, since the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

JSOC are routinely deployed on the ground for surveillance, reconnaissance, and assault and capture operations. Air attacks began in 2007 with helicopters and AC-130 gunships – vast ground attack aircraft that bristle with weapons. In June 2011, the US began carrying out drone strikes in Somalia.

The US has been chasing leaders of al Shabaab, a local Somali insurgent groups, who had ties to al Qaeda. This therefore made them targets under the 2001 Authorisation for the Use of Military Force Act, a hastily drafted law giving the US president the right to target and kill al Qaeda and its associates wherever he might find them.

Al Shabaab as a whole has not been specifically targeted, the US says, despite, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri announcing on February 9 2012 that al Shabaab had formally become a franchise of al Qaeda. In 2014 the frequency of US attacks in Somalia increased as the US started giving African peace keepers air support, targeting al Shabaab fighters who threatened the African troops and their US advisors.

The Bureau publishes a narrative timeline of US strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen each year. The 2019 timeline for Somalia can be found here, and all other timelines can be found here.

We also publish spreadsheets detailing casualty numbers in each country. You can download the entire Somalia sheet here.

US air and drone strikes Additional US attacks
Total strikes 12
Total people killed 14-15
Civilians reported killed 0-2
Children reported killed 0
People reported injured 2-4

Strikes

SOM189 link

19 February 2020

  • 3 reported killed

The US military carried out an airstrike in the vicinity of Wadajir that killed three al Shabaab fighters, a press release from US Africa Command read.

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Vicinity of Wadajir, Somalia
  • References: US Africa Command

SOM188 link

17 February 2020

  • No casualties reported

The US military carried out an airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib that destroyed an al Shabaab facility, a press release from US Africa Command read.

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Vicinity of Jilib, Somalia
  • References: US Africa Command

SOM187 link

6 February 2020

  • 2 reported injured

The US military carried out two airstrikes against an al Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Jilib that wounded two al Shabaab fighters, according to a press release from US Africa Command.

The facility was also "severely degraded", the release added.

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Vicinity of Jilib, Somalia
  • References: US Africa Command

SOM186 link

4 February 2020

  • 1 reported killed

The US military carried out an airstrike in the vicinity of Beer Xaani that killed one al Shabaab fighter, according to a press release from US Africa Command.

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Vicinity of Beer Xaani, Somalia
  • References: US Africa Command

SOM185 link

2 February 2020

  • 1-2 reported killed, including 0-1 civilians
  • 0-2 civilians reported injured

The US military carried out an airstrike in Somalia that killed one al Shabaab fighter, according to a press release from US Africa Command.

The strike took place in the vicinity of Jilib and Africa Command say they currently assess that it did not cause any civilian casualties.

Morad News, however, reported civilian casualties from this strike.

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17 year old, Nurto Kusow was locally reported to have been killed. While 15 year old Fatima Kusow was injured alongside 70 year old Khadija Mohamed.

SOM184 link

29 January 2020

The US military carried out an airstrike that killed one al Shabaab fighter and destroyed an al Shabaab compound in Jilib, according to a press release from US Africa Command.

They later confirmed to monitoring group, Airwars, that the strike took place on this date.

Africa Command currently assess that no civilian casualties resulted from the strike.

SOM183 link

27 January 2020

  • 1 reported killed
  • 0-1 civilians reported killed

The US military carried out an airstrike in the vicinity of Jilib that killed one al Shabaab fighter, US Africa Command said in a press release.

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

Jilib is still under al Shabaab control.

The identity of the victim could not be immediately established, Garowe Online reported.

The victim was locally identified as 20-year-old farmer, Sidi Moalin.

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SOM182 link

26 January 2020

  • No reported casualties

The US military carried out an airstrike in Somalia against an al Shabaab near Jamaame, a press release from US Africa Command confirmed.

The date of the strike was later confirmed to Airwars by Africa Command.

There were no known casualties, the military said.

SOM181 link

19 January 2020

  • 3 reported killed
  • 'Several' reported injured

The US military carried out an airstrike near Bangeeni, Somalia killing three al Shabaab fighters, according to a press release from US Africa Command.

The terrorists were said to have "engaged Somali National Army Danab Unit".

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

Somali government spokesperson, Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that the operation also resulted in the wounding of several other al-Shabaab members.

AA further reported that the US strikes were part of a joint operation carried out by Somalia's Elite Danab forces.

SOM180 link

16 January 2020

  • 2 reported killed

The US military carried out an airstrike in the Vicinity of Qunyo Barrow that killed two al Shabaab fighters, a press release from US Africa Command read.

“They are a known terrorist affiliate of al-Qaeda, who continue to radicalise and actively recruit. Persistent pressure on the network helps prevent its broader spread," US Army Major General William Gayler, director of operations said.

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the incident.

|The offensive is believed to have been carried out in retaliation for an attack on a military base in neighboring Kenya, earlier this month. One US service member and two contractors died in that assault. Two US Defense Department officials were wounded," Japanese news site NHK reported.

SOM179 link

3 January 2020

  • 3 reported killed

The US military carried out an airstrike near Bacaw that killed three al Shabaab fighters, a press release from US Africa Command said.

The al Shabaab terrorists had "engaged Somali National Army partner forces on patrol near Bacaw".

Africom currently assess that no civilians were harmed in the strike.

A Somali federal government spokesperson told the Defense Post that al Shabaab "militants attacked Danab and Somali National Army (SNA) forces conducting patrols near the town of Bariire, around 45 km west of Mogadishu".

Moqdishu Online quoted a 16th Somali Special Forces commander on Friday as saying his forces had killed 20 Shabaab fighters and recaptured a number of villages in the lower Shabelle region. A government spokesperson told The Defense Post that operation was not in the same area as the airstrike.