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Somalia warns its fighters not to target non-combatant family members of Al Shabaab

Friday October 21, 2022

Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia's Ministry of Defense has instructed the military and pro-government militia forces not to target wives and children of the Al Shabaab members in reprisal attacks.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of the Defense spokesman Brigadier General Abdullahi Ali Aanood said it is illegal to kill non-combatants and enemies who surrender.

"We are telling the army about the government's policy, the man who surrenders should be welcomed, and the wives and children of the militants should not be killed or harmed if they haven’t committed a crime or pose an immediate threat to soldiers’ safety. We are the government, and we wield moral superiority," said Brigadier General Aanood.

The statement comes days after the governor of the Hiiraan region, Ali Jeyte Osman, called for targeting Al Shabaab members' families in reprisal attacks. Security experts and rights groups expressed alarm at the open call for extrajudicial killings.

At the same news conference, Jeyte announced on Sunday that his administration would financially reward fighters with up to $25,000 for killing Al Shabab militants in the ongoing war in central Somalia.

Brigadier General Aanood added that Al Shabaab had abducted many young people and forced them to fight against the government against their will.

He called on young people in Al Shabaab-held areas to surrender to the government if sent to the frontlines. He promised them that the Somali army would welcome them.

Somali government forces backed by local pro-government militia groups liberated over 50 villages, killing over a thousand militants in the central Somali region of Hiiraan in the last three months.


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