A Somali commando raid targeting a house in a town in southern Somalia is reported to have killed a prominent religious leader.
Eyewitnesses said that helicopters dropped off dozens of US-trained commando soldiers from Somalia’s elite force known as Danab in Walaweyn, an agricultural town in Lower Shabelle region on Monday night before they stormed a nearby house.
US forces have reportedly accompanied Somali commandos during the raid.
Somali officials said that the raid targeted a house which served as a hideout for militants, but residents said that soldiers have targeted a house belonging to a local religious leader who was killed during the overnight raid instead.
The cleric, Sheikh Osman Bilal was reported to have been the imam of a mosque in the town and run a madrasa where locals learned Islamic studies.
There was no immediate comment from Al Shabab group on the raid which Somali officials claimed to have targeted a hideout for members of the group.
The militant group which claimed the responsibility for several deadly attacks in Somalia and neighbouring countries is under military pressure by African Union and Somali forces that ousted its fighters most of its key strongholds across the country, leaving a few rural towns and village un the group’s control.
The US government which deployed military advisors helping AU and Somali forces in the horn of Africa nation in Somalia is yet to comment on the raid which reportedly involved by its forces.