AFRICOM: US Airstrikes Support Somali Offensive in Country’s South

Officials say no civilian casualties happened in strikes

Officials from US African Command (AFRICOM) reported a flurry of airstrikes at the end of January in Somalia, saying they were meant to support a Somali military offensive against al-Shabaab in the area around Jilib.

There had been some reports of US airstrikes in the area, though not of a military offensive. AFRICOM did confirm killing an al-Shabaab suspect on Sunday, and this is the formal announcement of that and all the other strikes.

AFRICOM’s announcement further added that they don’t believe any civilians were killed in the attacks. Maj. Gen. William Gayler said even the death of a single al-Shabaab “makes the region and the US safer.” The indication is that the US only killed the one, and his identity was not released.

The US has launched an increasing number of strikes in Somalia in recent years, and while AFRICOM more or less always reports no civilian casualties, that doesn’t always prove true. Either way, the situation on the ground largely has not changed, and the Somali government still controls only a tiny fraction of the country.

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.