, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – A Kenyan soldier fighting in Somalia has been arrested after he shot and killed six civilians under unclear circumstances in Jana Cabdalla region.
The incident occurred shortly after five other civilians were killed during a gun fight between the Al Shabaab and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in the region, the military headquarters in Nairobi said.
Military spokesman Cyrus Oguna said the Kenyan soldier shot the six civilians when people were seen approaching a defensive position.
“Several people approached a KDF defensive position where a KDF soldier allegedly opened fire killing six people,” Oguna said.
“The soldier was immediately disarmed and has since been put on guarded seclusion,” he added.
The military headquarters in Nairobi said the matter was under investigation by AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) and KDF commanders who will recommend appropriate action against the officer.
“AMISOM, KDF and SNA (Somali National Army) together with local leaders on the ground are investigating the matter and will release their findings,” Oguna said, adding, “the findings will dully be respected and appropriate action taken.”
KDF sent a message of condolence to the affected families and reiterated that “its operations in Somalia have been conducted with utmost care and concern for civilian safety.”
“Several people approached a KDF defensive position where a KDF soldier allegedly opened fire killing six people. The soldier was immediately disarmed and has since been put on guarded seclusion” – Oguna.
“This unfortunate incident should be used as a measure for KDF operations,” KDF said.
Despite all this, the military said “the quest for a peaceful Somalia remains on course.”
Earlier on Sunday, five other civilians and a KDF soldier were killed during a gun fight between Al Shabaab militants and the Kenyan soldiers.
“Yesterday (Sunday) at around 1330hrs, Al Shabaab militants attacked KDF soldiers who were escorting civilians to draw water at a well in Jana Cabdalla. Following this incident five civilians and a KDF soldier were injured,” Oguna said, adding the KDF soldier later succumbed to injuries.
Lobby groups have warned that there could be many more civilian casualties in the battle ground which often go unreported.
The AMISOM forces have drawn closer to their main target in the port of Kismayu-seen as the bedrock of the Al Shabaab militants.
Kenyan forces have warned civilians to keep off targeted towns, including Kismayu which are likely to experience major confrontations in the coming weeks.
AMISOM forces have captured various towns in their advance to Kismayu, resulting in the killing of more than 1,000 Al Shabaab militants.