By Abdi Sheikh
MOGADISHU (Reuters) – An air strike near the Somalian town of Afgoye has killed four people, a relative of one of the victims told Reuters on Tuesday.
Abdiqadir Nur, an employee of telecommunications company Hormuud Telecom, and three others died at around 01:30 GMT as they drove through the village of Laanta Buuro in the country’s southwestern Lower Shabelle region, about 45km (28 miles) from the capital Mogadishu.
“Nur and three others died on the spot. His brother Mahad Nur is totally burnt,” Nur’s cousin Abdullahi Ali said.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the strike. The U.S. frequently carries out such attacks in the Horn of Africa country.
The attacks are to support Somalia’s U.N.-backed central government which has been battling Islamist group Al Shabaab for years.
The militants were pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, but retain a strong presence in southern and central parts of the country.
The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Al Shabaab says relatives of those killed in air strikes are often motivated to join the militant group, which wants to impose strict Islamic law in Somalia.
(Writing by Hereward Holland; additional reporting by Feisal Omar; editing by Elias Biryabarema amd Ed Osmond)