Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:32AM
African Union forces in Somalia are accused of killing eight civilians and wounding eight others after opening fire at them in the town of Leggo. The victims were mainly children. The incident has been condemned by Somali lawmakers who want the foreign forces to be held accountable for the civilian deaths
The African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM says it is investigating a shooting incident that claimed the lives of eight people near the town of Leggo, 120 kms west of the capital Mogadishu. Locals accuse AMISOM forces of indiscriminately opening fire on civilians, killing at least eight people among them four children and injuring eight others who are hospitalized in Mogadishu. The incident has angered some lawmakers. Dahir Amin, a Somali lawmaker told Press TV that the government must launch a full scale investigation and hold AMISOM accountable for killing innocent civilians. The lawmaker also accused AMISOM of not offering the injured victims medical aid despite having mobile health clinics in areas liberated from the Al-Shabaab militants. Press TV toured the hospital in Mogadishu treating the injured victims and they all said that AMISOM forces began firing on children in a Quran learning center. The family members of the the injured also said that there was no confrontations between AMISOM and Al-Shabaab in that area either, countering AMISOM’s initial claims that the civilians were caught up in crossfire. The AU Force in a press statement however said that they are currently gathering all the facts and establishing the circumstances of this tragic incident so as to ascertain whether, and to what extent, the rules of engagement may have been breached. In recent months, the AMISOM force has come under sharp criticism over its rules of engagement. In September 2012, a Kenyan soldier shot dead six civilians as Kenyan troops were advancing towards Kismayo town. And in early January, Kenyan fighter jets hit a house in Jilib town, south Somalia killing seven civilians.