Somalia says US air strike killed civilians not al-Shabab

By BBC News

A Somali regional government official has demanded an explanation from the US after 22 civilians and Somali soldiers were reportedly killed in an airstrike.

Officials in the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug accused neighbouring Puntland of misleading the US into believing they had targeted extremists.

The Somali military confirmed its soldiers were killed in the strike.

Washington says the strike killed nine al-Shabab militants, but that it was investigating.

Residents in the city of Galkayo in the Galmudug region protested against the strike by burning American flags on Thursday.

“The cabinet requests the US government give a clear explanation about the attack its planes carried out on the Galmudug forces,” a government statement said.

Al-Shabab had said it did not have any of its supporters in the area during the time of the bombing which took place late on Tuesday night.

A Somali military general confirmed their statement on Thursday, saying there were no militants in the area.

In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, al-Shabab fighters march with their weapons during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.



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