Seven civilians, including a grandmother and five children, have allegedly been killed in central Somalia during an air strike that was targeting Islamist militants.
The Somali government had announced that it had killed three senior al-Shabab members in El Garas village.
“The operation, which was planned with sophistication, hit [al-Shabab] hard,” the Somali National News agency Sonna reported.
The three members who were killed were tracked by government intelligence when they ran into a civilian house to escape the strike.
But the government denied responsibility for the civilian casualties.
“[Al-Shabab] placed explosive devices in a civilian house, which caused the deaths of innocent people,” the deputy information minister of Somalia, Abdirahman Yusuf.
Ahmed Nur Mohamud is the husband of 60-year-old Kaha Warsame, who, along with her grandchildren, died in the strike. He said that he was 1km (1,100 yards) away from the house when the bombing happened with his second wife and their children.
“I tried to call them, and their phones were off,” Ahmed Nur recalls. “When I tried to reach my family’s house around 03:00, there were government’s solders, and I was afraid to go in. I arrived the house later and realised that the government had taken the bodies with them.”
“I have seen that two bombs hit my family. One on their hut and another on the goat’s shelter,” he added.
Ahmed Nur is requesting to see the bodies of his wife and his grandchildren to find closure.
“We have never been involved with al-Shabab; we are civilians. I’m requesting the bodies of my family for burial. I demand compensation for my blood relative,” he said.