The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has rendered an apology for mistakenly murdering four civilians after soldiers mistook them for al-Shabaab fighters when they failed to stop at a roadblock.
The AU Mission apologised yesterday – a day after the incident happened in the area of Buulo Mareer in the Lower Shebelle region, 80km south of the capital, Mogadishu – after it was reportedly found that the dead people weren’t members of the terror group.
According to the statement issued by AMISOM:
“A speeding vehicle approached the roadblock and failed to adhere to repeated warnings to stop. Assuming the car to be a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED), the troops opened fire resulting in the death of four occupants of the vehicle,”.
“AMISOM profoundly regrets the loss of civilian lives that occurred during the operation and presents its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families,”.
African Union commission and an AMISOM inquiry has been opened to determine inquiry is looking into the incident to establish the circumstances of the shooting, the AFP news agency said.
Human Rights Watch has also called on AU Mission to carry out “thorough and transparent investigation” into the incident before reaching conclusions.
Laetitia Bader, a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch in Kenya, told Al Jazeera:
“If AMISOM and the troop-contributing countries involved are truly committed to scrutiny of their conduct, they should ensure that the investigation includes more than just questioning of their own soldiers and that witnesses can speak freely, without fear of reprisals,”.
African Union (AU) troops mistook four civilians travelling in a car in southern Somalia as members of the Somalia-based al-Shabaab.
The AU Mission said scared soldiers tried to stop the seeding vehicle but the car failed to stop at a roadblock. So the soldiers opened fire on them, killing four people in the vehicle. The dead include an 80-year-old woman and her nine-year-old granddaughter who were sick and were travelling to the capital, Mogadishu, for treatment.