Saturday August 21, 2021
Mogadishu (HOL) - AMISOM has concluded that seven people killed by their forces a little over a week ago in Lower Shabelle were not Al-Shabaab fighters.
The regional peacekeeping force came to the deduction after conducting a preliminary investigation.
"AMISOM is investigating reports that its troops were responsible for the death of the seven. The leadership has since the incident met with the elders, community members and government officials and made it clear that they will not condone criminal activities against civilians by its soldiers. They also assured them of their commitment to identifying and punishing those who breach the rules of engagement."
The killings occurred on August 10. According to Mohamed Yonis Aden, the father of one of the victims, seven people - including his son - were working on a farm near Golweyn when they were captured and killed by Ugandan troops operating under the AMISOM banner. He said that the seven individuals were all shot dead on the spot. The AMISOM soldiers detonated landmines after the killing, ostensibly to frame the men as Al-Shabaab fighters.
After the incident, AMISOM tweeted that seven "terrorists" were killed during a counter-attack, and they recovered weapons from the supposed militants. It also commended the actions of the soldiers as "brave."
Soon after the reports of the massacre began circulating, AMISOM announced that it would conduct its own investigation into the killing.
On Saturday, AMISOM released a statement that said it had assembled a seven-member Board of Inquiry (BOI) that includes senior officers from AMISOM's security apparatus and members from the AU Commission and Somali government.
"To investigate this serious incident and recommend follow-on actions, AMISOM has constituted a seven-member Board of Inquiry (BOI), which has immediately commenced its work. This legal inquiry is led by a senior officer and two other members from the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa. The others include a senior official from the Federal Government of Somalia and a senior officer from AMISOM Military, Police and Mission Headquarters. The Mission is working directly with the FGS and the affected families and has given its commitment to a swift and transparent investigation, which should be concluded by September 6, 2021.
The board will determine the culpability of the AMISOM soldiers in the deaths and recommend financial compensation for the affected families.
AMISOM said that soldiers found guilty would be court-martialled and tried for those cases. The Government of Uganda has reportedly assured AMISOM that it would assist "in the spirit of transparency."
Mohamed Moalimuu, a government spokesman, confirmed that PM Roble spoke with the Ugandan Ambassador to Somalia, Nathan Mugisha, to discuss the incident. Moalimuu said that the PM wants those responsible to be held accountable.
"Prime Minister said AMISOM should take punitive action against those involved," Moalimuu said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.