Mogadishu – Somalia’s security forces have arrested five soldiers from the African Union multinational force in the country (AMISOM) for allegedly selling military supplies in the capital, the national police chief said on Monday.

General Mohamed Sheikh Hassan said Somali forces on Sunday raided a garage in which AU soldiers were thought to be selling military supplies including sandbags, telephones, ammunition boxes and fuel.

Nine Somali soldiers were also arrested.

Ahmed Ali Dahir, Somalia’s attorney general, said soldiers engaging in the “illegal” trade would be prosecuted.

The AU mission in Somalia confirmed the arrests of five of its soldiers and called the raid a joint AU-Somali operation.

In a statement, the mission said its commitment to restoring peace in the East African country “will not be derailed by the selfish acts of a few of its members.” The mission is helping the government against an insurgency by the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab.

For years, AU forces have been accused of selling military supplies in black markets in Somalia, a charge denied by the 22 000-strong force.