Tuesday November 6, 2018
MOGADISHU (HOL) – African Union peacekeepers shot dead at least four civilians after a bomb blast targeted their military convoy in the north of the Somali capital on early Tuesday, officials and a resident said, in an attack condemned by the Somali government as ‘deplorable’.
Somali officials are accusing African Union peacekeepers of killing the civilians after a land bomb blast struck an AU convoy in Heliwa district, and called for the African Union to launch an investigation into the incident, one of several shooting cases involving AU forces in the immediate aftermath of bomb attacks in recent years.
“The government of Somalia is aware of the deplorable incident involving African Union forces in which several civilians were hurt.” said a statement by Somalia’s information ministry.
Investigations into the incident, a major test in the relations between African Union forces and the Somali government are already underway, the statement noted.
African Union officials are yet to comment on the latest incident which has the potential to inflame anti-foreign forces sentiment in the long-chaotic horn of Africa nation.
Dozens of civilians have been killed in similar incidents involving African Union peacekeepers across the country in recent years. Several soldiers accused of being involved in the shootings have since been arrested, with some have already convicted and serving prison terms.
The Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabab group often uses such incidents to propel its war propaganda to draw support from locals in an attempt to bolster support for its deadly guerrilla war against the 22000-strong AU force in Somalia.