Somalia: AMISOM denies opening fire on civilians in Marka

Published: August 13, 2014

2014811161626968734_20Residents in Marka on Monday (August 11th) staged protests against the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) after its troops were accused of firing on civilians, an allegation AMISOM denies.

Marka Deputy Commissioner for security and political affairs Barlin Abdullahi Mohamed accused AMISOM of firing on civilians after one of its convoys was hit by an improvised explosive device on Sunday, Somalia’s Goobjoog News reported.

An AMISOM water tanker was targeted in the attack, believed to be carried out by al-Shabaab, Al Jazeera reported. Local residents said AMISOM responded by firing on civilians and arresting youths, claims AMISOM officials have denied.

“As is standard operating procedure, AMISOM forces maintained their defensive postures, secured the area and did not open fire,” said AMISOM spokesman Colonel Ali Aden Humad. “AMISOM does not have a mandate to arrest civilians and we did not arrest civilians.”

“Our work in Somalia is to support the efforts of the Somali national security forces and mentor a capable and professional force that will take charge of this country’s security affairs,” he said.

Local government officials said the people protesting were al-Shabaab members.

“They were youth sent by al-Shabaab. They were carrying the al-Shabaab flag,” Lower Shabelle Governor Abdikadir Sheikh Mohamed Noor said.