AU mission condemns attack on its convoy in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] has condemned an Al-Shabaab attack targeting its convoy within the Somali capital Mogadishu on September 6, 2020, in a statement that was released on Monday, warning that such incidents won't be tolerated by the peacekeeping mission forces.
In the statement, AMISOM said the convoy had left from the Maslah Forward Operating Base [FOB] and was headed towards Mogadishu when it was attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militants, who used Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs], some which had been planted on the road.
"On September 6, 2020, one of the vehicles in a convoy of the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM], which had departed the mission’s Forward Operating Base [FOB] in Maslah and heading towards Mogadishu, was targeted by an Improvised Explosive Device [IED] at the Bakala Soqola junction," read the statement.
The statement comes just hours after officials in Somalia accused the mission of opening fire against civilians within Mogadishu, leaving at least 7 people dead. Officials had insisted that the AU forces were retaliating against Al-Shabaab militants who had reportedly killed one of the soldiers serving in the mission.
Without referring to Saturday's incident, AMISOM said the Sunday incident left one civilian dead, adding that the truck which the soldiers were traveling on was badly damaged. It's not clear if the incident the AU forces were referring to had something to do with the separate Saturday incident where the mission troops lost one soldier.
"Preliminary investigation indicates that the truck was partially damaged and one civilian who was near the scene of the attack was killed as a result of the blast," read the statement, adding that: "AMISOM strongly condemns the attack on its convoy and presents its condolences to the family of the deceased."
AMISOM has close to 22,000 troops who are serving in several parts of Somalia including the capital Mogadishu. Some of the force contributing nations include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, and Burundi but Ethiopia has the highest number of forces in the Horn of Africa nation.
Since their deployment in Somalia over a decade ago, AMISOM troops have managed to work closely with Somali National Army [SNA] and liberated a host of towns. But in the process, the troops have also suffered casualties particularly in Mogadishu, Lower Shebelle, and Jubba regions, with hundreds believed to have died to date.
Further, the troops are credited for supporting progressive economic activities and education in Somalia. With their exit scheduled for next year, the mission said it will continue helping Somalia as they implement the Somali Transition Plan [STP] which is currently being executed.
"The AU Mission in Somalia remains steadfast and will continue to fight terrorism side-by-side with its Somali counterparts in pursuit of peace and stability for the country," added the statement. "AMISOM is investigating the matter to fully establish the circumstances in which the unfortunate incident happened and the overall number of casualties."