Human Rights Watch: African Union troops killed six Somali wedding guests

By Danielle Haynes

MERCA, Somalia, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch called for an investigation Friday after accusing African Union troops of killing six people attending a wedding in Somalia in July.

Witnesses told the group troops from Uganda allegedly killed the wedding guests July 31 in the port town of Merca after a bomb attack on an AU convoy in Somalia (AMISOM).


"At one house, where the Moalim Iidey family was celebrating a wedding, the soldiers separated the men from the women and shot the six adult men -- four brothers, their father and an uncle," HRW said. "Four died immediately, one brother hid under a bed after being shot but later died, and the father died during the night after the soldiers allegedly refused to allow the family to take him to the hospital."

The AU said it is investigating the allegations, but, along with the Ugandan government, hasn't issued any statements, the BBC reported.

In addition to the six wedding guests, witnesses also told HRW 11 civilians were killed by AU troops July 21 in the same town.

"AMISOM needs to carry out credible investigations into the events in Merca and elsewhere that would show Somalis that it is committed to holding abusive troops to account," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The investigation needs to include more than questioning AMISOM's own soldiers and it will require providing protection to witnesses so that all accounts can be heard."


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