US Airstrike Kills Six ‘Militants’ in Somalia

Africom says no indication of any civilian deaths

Continuing an escalation of US airstrikes in Somalia that’s been ongoing for over a year, Africom says that at least six “militants” were killed on Sunday in Dheerow Sanle, in the Lower Shabelle region.

This is the second US strike of January, both against the same town in the Somali southwest, and both nominally targeted al-Shabaab movement. The US has yet to identify any of the slain, beyond saying they believe they’re all al-Shabaab, and no civilians were killed.

Beyond that, the statements are almost word-for-word identical, saying that their assessment was no civilians killed or wounded, and justifying the attack as limiting the “freedom of movement” of the al-Shabaab movement.

The US carried out 47 strikes in Somalia in 2018, and were increasing them near year’s end. In December, there were 6 strikes that killed an estimated 60 people. It is rare for the US to identify anyone killed in these strikes, mostly signature strikes, and just believes that if it is hitting al-Shabaab targets, the slain must be al-Shabaab members.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.