The African Union mission has denied charges that its troops killed 20 civilians in Somalia. The death toll in Tuesday’s attack was given as 10.
The AU mission to Somalia (AMISOM) instead its troops encountered a training centre of Islamist group, al-Shabaab, in the area.
Mohammed Dahir, the Mission’s spokesman said in a statement that in ensuing gun battle to dislodge the terrorists, five al-Shabaab fighters were killed, including one of their notorious leaders.
Meanwhile, a regional official said on condition of anonymity that some of those killed were somehow affiliated with al-Shabaab, but innocent civilians were also killed intentionally by the AMISOM forces.
Abdullahi Abshirow, a Legislator representing Merca in the Somali parliament condemned the killings as a `criminal act’.
He said the mandate of AU troops in Somalia was not to target and kill civilians but to protect civilians from terrorists.
A police source earlier said the alleged killings could have been an act of revenge after unidentified bombers destroyed an AU water tank the previous evening.
Medical official, Abdiqani Hashi, said 18 people were hospitalised with gunshot wounds, several of them in critical condition.
The AU has no fewer than 20,000 troops in Somalia to help the government battle al-Shabaab.
Somali and AU troops are engaged in an offensive to dislodge al-Shabaab from locations it still holds in the south and centre of the horn of Africa country.

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