Somali officials said they had killed eight jihadist fighters during an overnight operation, denying claims from local elders that they had shot civilians dead, two of them children.
Somali community leaders accused the troops, accompanied by US military advisors, of having killing the nine civilians in the overnight operations.
An initial government statement said its troops had come under fire from jihadists while on patrol, insisting that no civilians had been killed.
A later statement acknowledged that there had been civilian casualties, in what the government seemed to suggest was a separate incident. They did not say who was responsible.
Somali troops and their “international partners” had come under attack early on Friday at a farm near Bariire, in the Lower Shabelle region, the first government statement said.
Local security official Ibrahim Osman confirmed that nine civilians had been killed, but could not say in what circumstances that had happened