The Somali Government issued a statement Friday evening denying claims of residents and local authorities saying Friday’s military operation in lower Shabelle region were killed “terrorists”
The statement quotes SNA General Sheegow of the 20th Brigade who says that the farm was occupied by Al-Shabaab militants who began firing at SNA soldiers.
“The SNA carried out an operation this morning against a farm in Bariire with known al-Shabaab presence. Al-Shabaab started shooting at SNA forces after our soldiers entered the farm. The individuals shooting at the SNA soldiers were al-Shabaab fighters; they were not farmers. We talked to the farmers in the area and instructed them to put their weapons in their homes to avoid contusion,” federal government’s statement said.
meanwhile, Ali Nur Mohamed, deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region, told reporters the civilians were killed when foreign troops with Somali forces raided a farm near Barire village.
“Forces from the Somali government and foreign troops stormed a farm near Barire village earlier on Friday [and] killed at least nine people.
“Military commanders and other government authorities in the region don’t know about the operation,” Nur said.
“The victims were all civilians and we do not yet know why these innocent farmers were killed,” he added.
He described the incident as “a real genocide” and blamed the U.S.
At Madina hospital in the capital Mogadishu, officials displayed the victims to the media on Friday afternoon.
The government said its forces, backed by U.S troops, had taken control of Barire from the al-Shabaab terrorist group last week.
Barire is a small strategic village located 64 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Mogadishu.