On September 28, U.S. forces conducted a self-defense strike in Galcayo, Somalia, in support of a partner force, an element of the Puntland Security Forces (PSF), conducting counter-terrorism operations.
A group of armed fighters attacked a PSF-led patrol in early daylight. PSF forces returned fire in self-defense, but were unable to subdue the attack or withdraw without suffering casualties. At the request of PSF forces and based on their own assessment of the situation, U.S. forces conducted a strike to neutralize the threat to the PSF element, killing 10 armed fighters and wounding 3 others.
On October 4, U.S. Africa Command directed that an assessment be conducted to review the circumstances surrounding the strike and to evaluate if there were any civilian casualties as a result. The assessment reached the following conclusions:
- Sufficient evidence was presented to conclude no civilian casualties were caused by the September 28 strike.
- The armed fighters who attacked the PSF patrol at the time were believe to be part of al-Shabaab, but with further review it was determined they were local militia forces.
- U.S. forces lawfully and appropriately used force to defend the PSF element in response to the attack by the local militia forces against that U.S.-partner force.
No U.S. forces were killed or injured as a result of this incident.
It is important to note that the United States is working with the government of Somalia, and our AMISOM partners, to counter the terrorist group al-Shabaab. This is a group that has killed and terrorized civilians, police, and military units across Somalia and its neighboring countries.