Authorities in Somalia are investigating the deaths of four civilians reportedly killed by African Union troops Tuesday, after a roadside bomb targeted the peacekeepers’ convoy.
The bombing occurred in Mogadishu’s northern Huriwaa district, near Ex-Control Balad Junction, and damaged a water truck.
Witnesses tell VOA’s Somali Service that afterward, AU troops looking for the perpetrators of the blast shot the civilians in a nearby auto repair shop. The victims included the drivers of public transportation vehicles and a dump truck.
Somali government officials confirmed the bombing of the convoy and the deaths that followed.
Witnesses and the relatives of the dead accused the AU troops of deliberately killing the civilians in retaliation for the attack. A spokesman for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said the mission was trying to verify the information, adding that he did not believe any civilians were deliberately killed.
More than 100 demonstrators protested at Ex Control Balad Junction, denouncing the killings and demanding justice from Somalia’s government and from AMISOM.
Al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb and said the blast killed AU soldiers. Witnesses said they did not see any soldiers killed.
AMISOM has more than 22,000 soldiers and police, from six African countries, deployed in Somalia to protect the government there and fight the militants.
AMISOM has previously been accused of killing civilians, including an incident in which armored vehicles ran over civilians’ cars.