A young Somali unarmed man playing football was fatally shot by an AMISOM peacekeeper in Mogadishu on Sunday evening, friends and witnesses confirm.
The incident took place in an open ground close to the Mogadishu stadium – which the African Union mission in Somalia has been occupying since August 6, 2011, when al-Shabaab retreated from the Somali capital.
‘’He went to pick the ball as it went out and in few minutes he was shot dead by an AMISOM soldier from a very far angle by using a sniper. He died on the scene and we carried the body moments later,’’ said Ahmed Abukar, one of the traumatised friends.
Another boy who is part of the group of young Somali footballers who always go to play soccer in the ground close to the stadium questioned why the peacekeepers committed such atrocity.
‘’We always played on that ground peacefully and we were familiar to each other. We cannot understand why they [AMISOM] did this yet he was unarmed… Isn’t their role to protect civilians?’’.
AMISOM which has over 17,000 peacekeepers from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibout and Burundi in the country has not yet commented on the incident.
But this incident is expected to damage the standing of the peacekeeping force, where it is relatively popular, in particular in Mogadishu and other urban areas that it has helped seize back from the militants linked to al Qaeda.
It is not the first time the AU peacekeepers have committed atrocities or similar acts.
In July, Ugandan peacekeepers killed over 15 civilians in the port town of Marka, with the mission admitting the killing of only seven family members after facing criticism from Human Rights Organizations.
Since the collapse of the central government in 1991, Mogadishu stadium hasn’t hosted a single sporting event. The various groups fighting in the country’s civil war have always occupied the stadium.
The Somali federation has been pressing the government and military authorities for a removal of the troops since 2012.
Published: September 27, 2015