AMISOM apologises to Marka families, pledges speedy investigations

The African Mission to Somalia, AMISOM has offered its apologies to families in Somalia whose members were allegedly killed by AMISOM troops in Marka last month.

The head of AMISOM Maman Sidikou has also said they have credible information about the killings and that independent investigations were ongoing to establish further facts in to the circumstances that led to the killings.

Speaking to the media in Nairobi, Sidikou said the incident was regrettable and that concrete measures will be taken to ensure AMISOM adheres to professional and international standards.

“Let me reiterate here that as the Head of AMISOM, together with my colleagues seated with me here, I will continue to ensure that all AMISOM personnel, whether uniformed or civilians, armed or unarmed, strictly adhere to the fundamental principles of International Humanitarian Law as well as the African Union Peace Support Operations Code of Conduct,” said Sidikou.

AMISOM soldiers were last month alleged to have killed seven family members in the coastal town of Marka who were attending a wedding ceremony.

Since then there have been calls from rights groups and local politicians for investigations and prosecution of the troops. Human Rights Watch called for thorough investigations while calling for observance of law by AMISOM troops.

“African Union forces in Somalia face difficult challenges, but that makes respecting the laws of war even more crucial,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Gunning down people at a wedding or anyone else in cold blood as punishment for insurgent attacks will only make things harder for the African Union forces in the future,” said HRW.

Sidikou said he has also instituted a board of inquiry composed of military, civilian and police officers from a different contingent to ensure impartiality..

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