A demonstration against the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces responsible for the Golweyn massacre in the Lower Shabelle region took place today in Mogadishu.
The largest number of protesters against AMISOM’s presence gathered in Daljirka Dahsoon Square in the Somali capital.
The protest was led by relatives of civilians killed by AMISOM forces in Golweyn, Lower Shabelle region, Southwest regional state.
AMISOM has denied any involvement in the killings, but said it was investigating the incident, initially claiming it killed members of a terrorist group.
Unwarranted execution style killings
On August 10, there were reports from Lower Shabelle region that AMISOM forces opened fire on civilians in parts of the region, following a landmine explosion near Shalanbod.
The blast, which was a landmine, targeted the Ugandan troops as they passed near a village called Farah, between Golweyn and Danow in the Lower Shabelle region.
At that time, Golweyn District Commissioner Madey Sheikh Osman said AMISOM forces massacred civilians in a village called Farah under Golweyn District in Lower Shabelle Region.
Also, Shalanbod District Commissioner Nur Osman Rage who spoke about the incident accused AMISOM forces of deliberately killing farmers.
Nur Osman noted that, after the explosion, AMISOM troops entered a farm where four workers and their employer were staying, also captured two drivers on the road, then rounded them up and shot them, execution style.
He had also called on the Southwest regional leaders and the federal government to intervene on behalf of the victims and their families and hold the AMISOM force command to account.
In the meantime, victims’ relatives maintained the dead will not be buried until they obtain justice. The bodies of the seven people are currently in the Digfer hospital morgue.
AMISOM denies killing civilians
Recently, on August 17, local politicians, traditional elders and farmers of the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions met in Mogadishu to discuss the massacre in Golweyn.
A statement from the conference made it clear to the gathering that AMISOM carried out the investigation it had promised a day after the attack but still refuses to acknowledge killing civilians in Golweyn.
Also according to the statement, AMISOM has been carrying out massacres in the Shabelle regions for far too long and , called for a major uprising against the act and vowed not to bury the bodies until AMISOM confessed to the killings.
Speaking to VOA after the meeting, Mudullod clan chief Ugas Mohamud Ugas Ali said he had met with AMISOM officials several times but they refused to acknowledge the crime perpetrated by their troops, even after their investigative team admitted that the victims were civilians.
He said the issue will not go away until these people get justice. “There is absolutely no way we will abandon this case. We will go as the law allows. If AMISOM officials think we are going to get tired, they are wrong,” said Ugas Mohamud.
Ugandan president admits his troops are responsible
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has admitted his troops murdered civilians in Somalia, but AMISOM officials in Mogadishu still refuse to admit the act.
Protesters today said AMISOM has made a habit of killing people and getting away with it for a very long time, and they demanded the federal government to intervene.
The people of Golweyn ask for nothing less than the government’s strong response after the Kenyan airstrike on Gedo on June 3.
The Somali ministry of Defense has for the first time launched its own investigation into the massacre but has not released any findings or statement yet.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, one of the leaders who spoke out against the killings, said the soldiers would face justice, adding that he would be in talks with relatives of those killed.
Demonstration against the massacre of AMISOM troops held in Mogadishu, Aug. 19, 2021
Calls for foreign troops to go
AMISOM forces are infamous in the region for committing killings and other abuses against civilians in retaliation for attacks by Al-Shabab fighters.
But, with these increasingly unbearable AMISOM abuses in Somalia, people now demand that these foreign troops who commit war crimes without any repercussions be expelled immediately.
For its part, the government has failed in its mission to protect the population against these foreign troops’ abuses and their timid response is not reassuring for a nation in need of security.
The Golweyn residents cannot accept AMISOM Ugandan troops’ arguments that they were after the Al-Shabab militants because locals, especially rural dwellers, are already victims of these terrorists.
For instance, on February 1st, twelve people died and eight injured when the car that was carrying them struck an Al-Shabab landmine on the outskirts of Golweyn.
As long as AMISOM troops continue on this bloody path, people will express their anger in any lawful way to attract the government and the international community’s attention. Otherwise, they will take the matter into their own hands.