Kenya soldier kills 6 Somali civilians

Six civilians have been shot dead by a Kenyan soldier advancing towards the al-Shabab stronghold of Kismayo, the Kenyan army has confirmed.

According to Voice of America, the killings occurred Sunday in Jana Cabdalla, located 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Kismayo. Colonel Cyrus Oguna, spokesman for the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF), told VOA that the shooting happened after al-Shabab militants opened fire on soldiers and civilians at a water distribution point.

"Then the rest of the soldiers withdrew back to defensive positions. Immediately thereafter, another group of civilians approached the defensive positions, and one soldier – that is one KDF soldier – allegedly opened fire and killed six civilians," Oguna said.

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He also said the soldier has been disarmed, and that the KDF will conduct an investigation.

Somali army spokesman Adan Mohamed Hirsi also spoke to the media, and told BBC News it had been "a deliberate killing."

Kenya troops recently captured Jana Cabdalla from al-Shabab rebels, reported the Associated Press. Its army is part of the African Union force supporting Somalia's internationally backed government that is battling an insurgency from al-Shabab, which is affiliated with al Qaeda.

Somalia has been in chaos since its civil war started in 1991 when warlords overthrew a longtime dictator and then turned on each other.