According to the monitoring group Airwars, a suspected US drone strike killed seven civilians, including three children, in Somalia on January 30.
Airwars cited media reports from three news outlets: Shabelle Media Network, Somali Guardian, and Caasimada Online News. Local residents said the strike took place between two villages near the border of the Hiraan and Middle Shabelle (Shabeellaha Dhexe) regions.
US Africa Command did not report an airstrike on January 30, but it’s not clear if the command is reporting each strike it launches. It’s also possible that the CIA has been conducting drone strikes in Somalia. According to Airwars, the US military has declared seven actions in Somalia so far this year, but the monitoring group has recorded nine more alleged US airstrikes.
Airwars has given the allegations about the January 30 a “fair” grading, meaning two or more credible sources have reported it. The fair grading is the highest level below operations that are confirmed by the suspected belligerent.
Caasimada Online News provided the names of the civilians who were killed: Ahmed Mohamed Noor, 20 years old, Abdiqadar Mohamed Noor, 18 years old, Qeys Mohamed Noor, 8 years old, Umar Maham Abukar, 18 years old, Abdullahi Mohamud Issa, age unknown, Ahmed Khadar Ibrahim Osman, 13 years old, Assir Hassan Abdi, 14 years old. Three of those killed were brothers. According to Airwars, the suspected intended target was al-Shabaab.
AFRICOM has claimed there were no civilian casualties in the airstrikes it reported this year. But the Pentagon is notorious for undercounting or lying about civilian casualties, especially in Somalia, where its operations are shrouded in secrecy and receive very little Western media coverage.