Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the African Union to release findings of their investigation into the alleged killings of 14 civilians by Ethiopian forces in Somalia in July 2016.
The rights body said in a statement on Wednesday that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) failed to provide a report nor compensation for the incident that occured in Wardinle in Somalia’s Bay region.
“The African Union and Ethiopian leadership needs to hold its forces to account by releasing its findings, ensuring that any wrongdoers are brought to justice, and compensating the victims,” HRW’s Africa researcher, Laetitia Bader said.
HRW said their investigation revealed that troops from AMISOM’s Ethiopian contingent fired on a hut in Wardinle where the 14 victims that included village elders, religious leaders, and Islamic school teachers had gathered to pray for a sick villager.
The African Union and Ethiopian leadership needs to hold its forces to account by releasing its findings, ensuring that any wrongdoers are brought to justice, and compensating the victims.
“Witnesses told Human Rights Watch they had seen no fighting or Al-Shabab militants in the village that day,” the statement added.
Two days after the incident, AMISOM said it was investigating the claims but its preliminary investigation revealed that their forces went to the village after receiving “credible intelligence information, of an Al-Shabaab radicalization exercise.”
“The troops were ambushed as they approached the village and intensive fighting ensued…. It is not clear at this point in time, if the fighting occasioned civilian deaths, as it is being claimed,” AMISOM added.
Laetitia Bader advised that the killings which have devastated the rural community “should not be swept under the carpet”.