AU troops kill four Somalia civilians

African Union AU troops have killed four civilians travelling in a car in southern Somalia.

The incident took place near Bulla Marer, 60km (37 miles) south-west of the capital, Mogadishu.

The dead include an 80-year-old woman and her nine-year-old granddaughter who were sick and were travelling to the capital, Mogadishu, for treatment.

The AU Mission said scared soldiers had opened fire when the car failed to stop at a roadblock.

The son of the elderly woman killed, Abdiwahid Ibrahim Maalim said she and the granddaughter were in the car with two of his friends, one of them the driver, when the troops killed them.

Residents of Lower Shabelle have protested, denouncing the killings.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) confirmed the deaths but said it did not believe the four were deliberately killed.

Amisom spokesman Col Joe Kibet said  the driver had defied an order to stop.

Amisom has more than 22,000 soldiers and police, the majority from six African countries, deployed in Somalia to protect the government there.