In the latest quarterly civilian casualty assessment report period ending Dec. 31, 2022, U.S. Africa Command received two reports of civilian casualties on Sept. 23, 2022 and Oct. 1, 2022.
After a thorough assessment of the facts and circumstances, U.S. Africa Command found the Sept. 23 report unsubstantiated. The Sept. 23 report alleged civilian casualties related to a Sept. 9 strike. U.S. Africa Command did not conduct a strike on Sept. 9.
After a thorough assessment of the facts and circumstances, U.S. Africa Command found the Oct. 1 report unsubstantiated. On Oct. 1, 2022 an airstrike was conducted against two al-Shabaab members.
This is the 12th quarterly civilian casualty assessment report since U.S. Africa Command began releasing reports in April 2020. The reports are part of the command’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
U.S. Africa Command takes all reports of possible civilian casualties seriously and has a process to conduct thorough assessments using all available information. The command will continue to maintain and improve the civilian casualty assessment program and remains committed to reviewing and assessing any reports of civilian harm.
Discrepancies between U.S. Africa Command civilian casualty assessments and NGO Reports
U.S. Africa Command’s assessment of reports of civilian casualties occasionally differ from other organizations, including Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) for a number of reasons. The command’s information is based on reliable and layered intelligence sources and classified operational reporting which are not available to the public. This can contribute to perceived discrepancies between the command’s results and those of others.
Definition of “civilian” and “combatant”
Consistent with the Department of Defense Law of War Manual, “civilian” and “combatant” are defined as follows:
Civilian: Persons who are not combatants (members of military/security forces or members of either a declared hostile force or an organized armed group of a party to an armed conflict).
Civilians may lose their protection against attacks if demonstrating hostile intent, engaging in a hostile act, or for such time as they take direct part in hostilities; but they retain or regain such protection when they cease said conduct, or if they become wounded, sick, detained, or surrender, and thereby are unable to continue said conduct. All personnel in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility received the protections of civilian status, unless they are positively identified as legitimate military targets.
Combatant: Persons directly participating in an armed conflict, or persons whose hostile actions have purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the U.S. individuals who are formally or functionally part of a non-State armed group that is engaged in hostilities may be made the object of attack because they likewise share in their group’s hostile intent.
U.S. Africa Command Quarterly Civilian Casualty Assessment Report
Summary of results
Note: Where reports of civilian casualties are determined to be unsubstantiated, it means there was insufficient information to validate or substantiate the reports. When new information is received, a report of civilian casualties can be reassessed. Until that occurs, the assessment is considered complete.
Sept. 23, 2022 (Unsubstantiated) On Sept. 23, 2022, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source stating seven (7) civilians were killed and ten (10) civilians were injured as a result of a U.S. military operation in Lower Shabelle, Somalia on Sept. 9, 2022. After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. No U.S. military strike took place at the time and place reported.
Oct. 1, 2022 (Unsubstantiated) On Oct. 1, 2022, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source stating two (2) civilians were killed and as a result of a U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia on Oct. 1, 2022. After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. On Oct. 1, 2022 an airstrike was conducted against two al-Shabaab members. The airstrike on Oct. 1, 2022 targeted Abdullah Yare, an al-Shabaab commander who planned and coordinated attacks against partner forces in the region. Multiple U.S. intelligence reports, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed the individual was an al-Shabaab commander. The airstrike occurred in an open area where the effects of the strike were limited to the targeted individual and the al-Shabaab associate in the vehicle.
There are currently no open incidents.