Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 16:32 UK

US drone 'shot down over Somalia'

map of somalia

Islamist insurgents say they have shot down an unmanned US spy drone off the coast of southern Somalia.

An al-Shabab official said the drone had been hit by anti-aircraft fire and had fallen into the Indian Ocean near the port of Kismayo.

The claims could not be independently verified.

US forces last month launched a helicopter raid in southern Somalia and said they had killed a senior al-Qaeda suspect who was working with al-Shabab.

The BBC's Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the incident increased Islamist suspicions of US activity in Somalia.

He says that, if confirmed, it would be the first time that al-Shabab fighters had shot down a US drone.

An Islamist official told the BBC: "The suspected US aircraft had been flying in Kismayo airspace for days before being shot down two miles north-east of the town on Monday morning.

"It fell into the water and our fighters are trying to locate it."

Al-Shabab and other Islamist groups control much of southern Somalia, while the UN-backed government controls only a few parts of the capital, Mogadishu.

US forces have long been working against Somalia's Islamist groups from their military base in Djibouti, north-west of Somalia.

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