US-backed troops accused of targeting civilian homes in Somalia

MOGADISHU – The US backed forces have been accused of carrying out a joint raid on civilian homes near Barire town, just 6km west of Somali capital Mogadishu.

The US trained Especial Forces knonw as ‘Bangaraf’ burned down 5 vehicles, including minivans during the operation in Ballow near Barire town, a witness, who asked to be anonymous said.

He says the soldiers took photos of the burned vehicles before their departure.

He said the US-backed troops had also taken three people alive, whom they suspected to have links with al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab.

Meanwhile, Somali military has denied claims, saying the terror group Al Shabaab had burned the civilians’ vehicles after an ambush attack in the area.

“We did nothing wrong to the people in the town. Our mission is not to maim the people, but it is to protest them from al Shabaab”, the military said on Twitter.

Bariire, is an agricultural-rich town lies about 60km west of Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The town was serving as a key transit point for Al-Shabaab fighters who frequently crossed over from southern regions.

The seizure of the town is big blow to Al Shabaab, according to head of African Union mission in Somalia, Francisco Madeira.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked group, has been fighting for more than ten years to overthrow the weak UN-backed government in Somalia

Abdi Aziz Hassan Ibrahim is , a somali veteran journalist based in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Twitter @mareegonline Email: news@mareeg.com