AU force in Somalia says not involved in ex-al-Shabab arrest

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia says it had no part in the arrest of the former No. 2 leader of the al-Shabab extremist group, who has been a leading candidate for a regional presidency.

The statement released overnight calls for "utmost restraint" after several deaths were reported in the uproar around Muhktar Robow's arrest on Thursday in Baidoa.

He was seized by Ethiopian troops accompanied by Somali police, witnesses told The Associated Press. He was flown to the capital, Mogadishu, a Somali intelligence official said. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters or for safety concerns.

Ethiopia's military, which contributes troops to the AU mission, has not commented.

A new joint statement by the United States and others expresses concern.