Somali government soldiers shot dead seven civilians Friday when a riot broke out at a refugee camp in Mogadishu.
Witnesses claim the chaos in the capital broke out when soldiers tried to steal some of the 290 tonnes of food rations being given to famine victims.
Several refugees then tried to get food, prompting some of the soldiers to open fire, witnesses said.
Abdi Awale Nor, who has been living at the camp, said: “It was carnage. They ruthlessly shot everyone.”
Muse Sheikh Ali, another of those waiting for rations, claimed that seven people were “killed on the spot.”
“Then soldiers took the food and people fled from the camp,” he alleged.
A Somali government spokesman, however, said the troops were trying to prevent looting.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Mogadishu are waiting for food aid, funding for which aid agencies said is still urgently needed.
That appeal came as Africa’s largest business ally, China, said that it has given less than $16 million toward famine funds to save millions of people from starvation.