A United Nations independent expert on human rights called today on the international community to deploy a supplementary force to protect Somali civilians after yesterday’s deadly suicide bombing in Mogadishu that left at least 65 people dead and more than 150 others injured.
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Somalia for the UN Human Rights Council Shamsul Bari urged the international community “to step up and consider deploying an international protection force to complement the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to stabilize the capital and protect innocent civilians.”
AMISOM currently has some 8,000 troops on the ground, and the situation in the capital city was considered to have improved after Al-Shabaab Islamist militants withdrew from Mogadishu in early August this year.
However, Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told the General Assembly last month that Al-Shabaab was still a threat and was targeting civilians in the capital and other parts of the country.
The most recent attack occurred when a truck carrying explosives was driven into a government ministry building. Many of the victims were students who were waiting to hear for their exam results and hoping for scholarships to Turkey or Sudan.
Mr. Bari strongly condemned the attack and said one of the greatest tragedies of the prolonged crisis in Somalia has been that several generations have been deprived of education, recalling a similar attack in 2009 at a graduation ceremony.
“These attacks, which targeted some of the country’s very few university-level students, as well as the dedicated civil servants working to enhance Somali public institutions and social services under extremely difficult circumstances, are a direct blow to the fabric – and future – of the nation.”
Mr. Bari called on the international community “to strengthen the capacity of the Somali Government to investigate this appalling crime and to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.
“I appeal to all Somalis, at all levels of society, to join me and make it clear they condemn in the strongest manner this atrocious act, which is unacceptable and unjustifiable under any circumstances, and to do whatever they can to help prevent any more atrocities of this type from taking place, as well as to bring those responsible to justice,” he said.
Published: October 6, 2011