Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Somali Government.

A Somali village south of the capital Mogadishu, in an area mostly controlled by Al Shabaab militants, has been targeted in an air strike, Reuters reports.

There has been no confirmation of who carried out the attack but the US regularly carries out air strikes on Al Shabaab in support of the Somali military which is battling to rid the Horn of Africa country of the militants who are fighting to topple the country’s central government and establish Sharia law.

A Somali official said the air strike, which hit Ilimey village, about 130 kilometres south-west of Mogadishu, had targeted a car used by the militants to transport supplies to a squad preparing bombs.

However, Mohamed Abu Usama, Al Shabaab’s governor for the lower Shabelle region, disputed the claim that jihadists had been targeted and said the strike had killed seven civilians and injured three others when it hit a portable tea shop.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has also been helping the Somali military to fight Al Shabaab in an attempt to bring security and order to Somalia.

But AMISOM will start withdrawing troops over the next few years, aiming for a complete withdrawal by 2020.

This will leave the country’s security in the hands of the Somali military, raising fears of further unrest as Al Shabaab has been making a comeback despite the support provided by the Americans and the Africans to Somalia’s security forces.

In October, over 500 people died in one of Somalia’s deadliest bombings when a truck bomb exploded outside a busy hotel at Mogadishu’s K5 intersection lined with government offices, restaurants and kiosks.

A second blast struck Medina district two hours later.

- African News Agency (ANA)