Somali police report that African Union troops had been detained for selling military supplies such as petrol, ammunition boxes, sandbags and improvised detonators.
African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) in a statement, confirmed the arrest, saying they are investigating the matter.
Gen. Mohamed Sheikh Hassan said Somali forces with AMISOM troops on Sunday raided a garage in which AU soldiers were believed to be selling military supplies including sandbags, telephones, ammunition boxes and fuel.
Amisom also in a statement said they are working with the Somali police on the arrests.
The statement reads that Amisom “exercises zero tolerance to unprofessional conduct” and those who break the rules “will be met with the full might of the law”.
Ahmed Ali Dahir, Somalia’s attorney general, said soldiers engaging in the “illegal” trade would be prosecuted. AMISOM added that the mission in Somalia — to bring back peace in the East African country — “will not be derailed by the selfish acts of a few of its members.”
The report shows Somalia’s security forces had bundled off five African Union peacekeepers and 10 Somalis for reportedly selling military supplies in the capital, Mogadishu. Nine Somali soldiers were also arrested.
The nationalities of the peacekeepers are yet to be disclosed and it is not clear whether the Somalis were civilians or soldiers. It is also not clear whether they sell the military supplies to terror groups, civilians or whoever.
AU forces have been accused of selling military supplies in black markets in Somalia, for years now. But the troops boasting 22,000-strong force denied the claim.
The AU troops are helping Somalia’s government fight Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab, which claims it is fighting to oust the Western-backed Somali government.
So far, AU and Somali government forces have pushed al-Shabaab out of most Somali cities and towns. But the al-Qaida-linked group still launches periodic raids and suicide attacks, and also has carried out attacks in several neighboring countries.