The rights group Amnesty International has condemned the killing of civilians in Baidoa during protests following the arrest of presidential candidate and former Al-Shabaab deputy Mukhtar Robow.
Amnesty said the shooting dead of a state MP and a young boy Thursday was unwarranted noting citizens should be able to express themselves without threats from the state.
“Somali and Ethiopian security forces in Baidoa must refrain from using lethal force against protestors, including ahead of, during and after the South West regional presidential election scheduled for 19 December. No one should have to die for simply expressing their views,” AI Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Sarah Jackson said.
The campaign group said it gathered information indicating three individuals-two men and one woman were injured when security forces opened fire during the demonstrations and are nursing bullet wounds in Baidoa Regional Hospital.
“Protesters should be able to count on the security forces to protect them, and not violently turn their weapons on them. The Somalia authorities must immediately open an investigation into this use of excessive force and hold all officers responsible to account,” said Sarah Jackson.
Ethiopian forces arrested Robow Thursday and subsequently flew him to Mogadishu sparking protests in Baidoa which have continued into the third day. AMISOM has denied its forces were involved in the arrest of Robow. Ethiopia has forces in Baidoa operating under AMISOM in addition to others outside AMISOM.
The Federal Government later justified Robow’s arrest noting he had failed to heed warnings not to contest in the South West race since he was still under sanctions. The government also accused him of delivering weapons and militia to Baidoa.
The state elections are slated for December 19.