PHOTO TIMELINE: U.S. Airstrike Stirs Conflict in Somalia

Somali officials have demanded an explanation and investigation into a U.S. air strike just outside Galkayo that they say killed at least 13 members of the Galmudug administration’s regional security forces.

Galmudug officials initially blamed its longtime rival Puntland for giving the U.S. false information about the presence of an al-Shabaab camp at the location of the strike.

In response, the U.S. denied any forces other than al-Shabaab were targeted or hit:

On September 28, in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted a self-defense strike against al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-associated terrorist group, in Galcayo, Somalia.

During a Somali-led counterterrorism operation to disrupt an al-Shabaab Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making network, a group of armed al-Shabaab fighters attacked, threatening the safety and security of the Somali force and their U.S. advisors. Somali forces returned fire in self-defense.  The U.S. conducted a self-defense strike to neutralize the threat, killing nine (9) enemy fighters.

We have seen reports alleging non-combatant casualties as a result of this defensive strike. We have assessed all credible evidence and determined those reports are incorrect.

Much of this controversy has been captured by Somali media in detail, including footage of the impact of the strike.

Bodies were recovered from the wreckage and buried in Galmudug

…while some of those injured — wrapped in the Galmudug regional flag — were airlifted to Mogadishu…

…where they were treated at Medina hospital.

On the 28th and 29th of September, hundreds of protesters staged anti-U.S. demonstrations in Galkayo…

…followed by similar protests in Adado — one of the selected venues for upcoming Somali elections.

New U.S. Ambassador to Somalia, Stephen Schwartz told VOA news that Department of Defense is still not convinced that non-combatants were killed, though he added, “certainly any loss of life by non-combatants is regrettable and unfortunate…they are looking into it.”

UPDATE: On 10 November 2016, the Pentagon admitted the strike killed Somali friendly forces, not al-Shabaab.

Categories: Int'l Community in Somalia

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3 replies

  1. I notice that those pics are showing young men in traditionnal somali clothes and are not wearing Galmudug uniform neither vehicles have any military paintings. The bloody stains in vehicle indicate they have got inboard when strike occured outside village aera, not in military camp. Those people are probably clanic militia fighters, not civilian neither presidential guard as Galmudug State is claiming. Men wrapped in Galmudug flag also indicates the Galmudug State’s wish to involve Puntland responsability . Heavy armed soldiers to protect a nomad campment, all that is doubtful and suspicious.

  2. The local sources confirm that the men involved in this affair belong to a militia of Habargedyr clan. Habargedyr mostly support ASWJ militia which is established in Dhusmereb (not Galkayo) and which has difficult relations with the government of Galmudug State. What does it means? President of Galmudug supports Habargedyr in any case (even if they loyal to rival faction (ASWJ)) purely by clan spirit ? Either these men who are hailed from sub-clan Sa’ad (as former General Aidded) are support of the President of Galmudug? ASWJ is a multi-clanic and anti-shabaab militia, Galmudug State obey to clanic spirit and its politic is unclear


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