MOGADISHU (Radio Maanta) As a follow up to the Board of Inquiry that investigated allegations of civilian casualties in Goloweyn on 10th August 2021, by AMISOM soldiers, the Government of the Republic of Uganda, as the Troop Contributing Country to which the implicated soldiers belong, established a Court Martial in Mogadishu, Somalia, to try the accused soldiers.
After sitting from 2-12th November 2021 and reviewing all the facts including witness statements, the Court Martial on 12th November 2021, found the soldiers guilty of killing the civilians.
Two of the soldiers were sentenced to death while the other three were each sentenced to 39 years in prison.
This is the first court case which convicts death sentence to African Union forces for committing human rights violation in Somalia.
They will be repatriated from Somalia to Uganda to serve their sentences.
“As soldiers, we have a responsibility to protect lives and property. Our mission in Somalia is to degrade Al-Shabaab and other armed groups. In doing so, we absolutely have every responsibility to protect the civilian population, and this is very clear in our Rules of Engagement,” said the Ugandan People Defence Force Contingent and AMISOM Sector 1 Commander, Brig. Gen. Don Nabasa.
The AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Diomede Ndegeya, said, “As a Military component of AMISOM, we will, among our ranks, continue to ensure strict compliance with our obligations as we carry on with the task of pursuing and degrading Al-Shabaab, ISIS and other likeminded armed groups, as well as protecting population centers and securing critical infrastructure and sensitive sites in Somalia”.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, thanked the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Federal Government of Somalia for their co-operation and support. Ambassador Madeira deeply regrets the killing of the civilians and has, once again, conveyed his and AMISOM’s condolences to the bereaved families for the tragic incident.
“As a Mission, AMISOM remains deeply committed to the cause of peace, security and stability in Somalia and the protection of the local population in strict respect of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Human Rights Law, and AMISOM rules of Engagement. All these instruments are part and parcel of our core values and mandate,” said Ambassador Madeira.
*Anfa Aden is a trainee at SJS human rights journalism training supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).