MOGADISHU, Somalia (Horn Observer) At least 9 people were killed and 2 others were wounded on Friday morning raid jointly carried out by Somali forces and international partners in a farm near Bariire in Lower Shabelle region, officials and witnesses said.
There were conflicting reports about the death toll and the identity of people targeted in the Friday’s attack and their affiliations.
Somali government officials said that the raid targeted Shabab terrorists hideouts and resulted the death of 8 Shabab combatants.
“The Somali National Army, under the direction of Chief of Defense Forces General Ahmed Mohamed Jimaale, and our international partners conducted a security operation early on August 25 near Bariire, Lower Shabelle that resulted in the deaths of eight al-Shabaab terrorists.” Statement from the Ministry of information read.
“Our security forces go to great lengths to prevent civilian casualties during all of our activities. No civilians were harmed or killed in this operation” The statement added.
But the Ministry of information retracted earlier statement confirming the existence of civilian casualties and said that it will investigate the matter.
However, The deputy commissioner of Lower Shabelle region, Ali Nor Mohamed told Mustaqbal radio in Mogadishu that Somali government forces supported by foreign troops killed 9 farmers inside their farm, among the killed are 3 children, the owner of the farm and five employees.
Some media reports say that a Mogadishu based an American security company, Bancroft Global Development were involved the attack.
All the bodies were brought to Madina hospital late Friday.
The United States Africa Command said in a statement on late Friday that they are aware of the civilian casualty allegations near Bariire, Somalia.
“We take any allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and per standard, we are conducting an assessment into the situation to determine the facts on the ground.” The statement from AFRICOM said, confirming that the Somali National Army was conducting an operation in the area with U.S. forces in a supporting role.
A Somali Lawmaker Mahad Salad condemned the attack and called for an investigation into the Barire incident on Friday. The lawmaker is suspicious that the attack might have been directed to his constituents.
U.S. forces are in Somalia at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and are committed to helping Somali forces neutralize al-Shabaab and bring stability to the region.