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Residents in the town of Bulo Marer told the BBC they had seen the wreckage of a small plane but did not know whether it was a US drone.
Lower Shabelle region governor Abdikadir Mohamed Nur told Reuters news agency that Islamist militants had shot at the aircraft over the town for several hours before it came down.
"Finally they hit it and the drone crashed," he said.
Al-Shabab said in a Twitter post that photographs of the drone would be published in the coming hours.