A Kenyan soldier fighting in Somalia has been arrested after he allegedly shot and killed six civilians under unclear circumstances in Jana Cabdalla region near Kismayo.
Officials said the incident occurred shortly after five other civilians were injured during a gunfight between Al Shabaab and KDF soldiers, which left one soldier dead.
Military operations spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna said the six people killed by the soldier on Sunday after they were seen approaching an area manned by KDF.
“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.
He said the matter is under investigation by AMISOM and KDF commanders who will recommend appropriate action against the officer.
“Amisom, KDF and Somali National Army (SNA) 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.”
“This unfortunate incident should be used as a measure for KDF operations.”
Lobby groups have warned that there could be many more civilian casualties in the battleground, 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.
“The capture of Kismayu is imminent. Kenya Government extends amnesty to Kenyans fighting in Somalia as Alshabaab. Retreat peacefully now,” said KDF in its official tweeter account.
KDF added they are concerned about the safety and security of civilians as efforts to capture Kismayu gather momentum and urged them to stay clear of Al Shabaab targets.
They also appealed to humanitarian agencies to come to the aid of the people fleeing to areas liberated by AMISOM and Somali security forces.
The troops have captured various towns in their advance to Kismayu, resulting to the killing of more than 1000 Al Shabaan militants