AU troops killed 7 civilians: Somali official
MOGADISHU – The Associated Press
Somali government police forces guard arrested suspected al Shabaab members during an operation in the Madina district of Somalia's capital Mogadishu January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Feisal OmarAfrican Union troops mistakenly opened fire on a religious school while pursuing militants, killing five children and two adults, a Somali legislator said yesterday.
Dahir Amin Jesow, who visited the scene of the attack at Leggo village, said all five children were less than 10 years old.
Jesow said the attack in the village 120 kilometers west of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, took place around 3 a.m. Jan. 15. Students of Islamic schools in Somalia often attend class in the early morning. The AU soldiers were earlier attacked by militants, Jesow said. The African Union Mission for Somalia, known as AMISOM, said it is investigating the incident.
“AMISOM is mindful of its responsibility to minimize civilian casualties during its operations and we have clear rules of engagement to that effect. We are therefore currently establishing the facts and the circumstances around this tragic incident so as to ascertain whether, and to what extent, these rules may have been breached,” said Acting Force Commander Maj. General Salvatore Harushimana in a statement Jan. 16 evening.
AU troops are in Somalia to bolster the country’s weak government, which is facing an insurgency from al-Qaeda-linked militants.