HRW Calls on AMISOM to Investigate Civilian casualties in Somalia

Published: August 14, 2015

human-rights-watchA leading human rights organisation has urged the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to investigate fully the deaths of civilians in a retaliation attack two weeks ago.
On the 31st July evening, AMISOM’s Ugandan troops raided a house where a wedding was being held and killed six men from the same family. The incident came after the peacekeepers convoy was attacked with a landmine.
“AMISOM needs to carry out credible investigations into the events in Merka and elsewhere that would show Somalis that it is committed to holding abusive troops to account,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Days after the attack and public outrage, AMISOM said that it was investigating the incident.
The International rights group official warned AMISOM over such cruel acts.
“Gunning down people at a wedding or anyone else in cold blood as punishment for insurgent attacks will only make things harder for the African Union forces in the future.”
HRW found 21 cases of “sexual exploitation and abuse” by AMISOM soldiers between 2013 and 2014 alone, including instances of gang rape. Most acts of sexual violence occurred when women and girls sought out “medicine or humanitarian services” at an AMISOM base in Mogadishu staffed by soldiers from Burundi. In many instances, soldiers offered food or money to make sexual encounters appear transactional, and all of the attacks happened when Somali intermediaries, acting as interpreters, brought girls to base camps or camp hospitals for soldiers stationed there.
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