US small plane crashes in Mogadishu

Mogadishu - A US military drone crashed in a Somali coastal area south of Mogadishu on Friday, a local government official and witnesses said.

"It's a small unmanned American plane. It's small and can be carried by three people," said Mohamed Mohamoud Helmi, the government official in charge of security in the town of Merka.

"The object, a small plane, is now in the hands of the police forces. It fell near the coastal area of Agaren," said Osman Hassan Hussein, Merka's police chief.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

Agaren is located around five kilometres south of Merka, a large town around 100 kilometres south of the capital Mogadishu.

"It was flying from the direction of the ocean and it crashed in an area where children were playing football," said Helmi.

"It doesn't appear to be damaged and we are ready to hand it back to anyone who claims ownership," he added.

Several witnesses said the drone was found early on Friday.

"I saw the small plane, it's about one metre and a half," local president Mohamed Saddam said.

"It has cameras on it and things like computer components." - Sapa-AFP