News / Africa

Death Toll in Mogadishu Rises Amid Allegations Against AU Forces

The toll from Monday's violence in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, has risen to more than 30 dead and as many as 100 wounded.  There are renewed accusations that African Union peacekeepers are using excessive force to respond to insurgent attacks.

Hospital workers tell VOA emergency wards in the capital are filled with dozens of civilians wounded during Monday's battle between Islamist insurgents, led by al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants, and peacekeepers of the African Union mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM.   

The violence began when insurgents lobbed mortars at the presidential palace during a military ceremony attended by senior officials of the U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government.  

Shelling from insurgents reportedly hit the Huneyn School for children and a United Nations compound.  Retaliatory shelling from African Union forces hit the al-Shabab-controlled, open-air Bakara market and residential areas.

There have been countless similar incidents in Mogadishu since 2007, when the first contingent of African Union troops arrived to protect the fragile government and key sites in the capital.  

More than 5,000 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi are deployed in Somalia.  With al-Shabab and allied groups becoming increasingly determined to topple the government and take over the city, the fighting between the two sides has steadily intensified.   

Mogadishu resident Moa Dahir says he has spent the past year going door-to-door and visiting hospitals to collect data on the number of people killed and wounded in battles between insurgents and peacekeepers.  

He says while insurgent actions have caused a number of civilian casualties, AMISOM shells have wiped out entire families. "I would like to inform the international community to stop AMISOM because AMISOM is not doing anything other than killing innocent people," said Dahir.

International human rights groups have also repeatedly criticized AMISOM for indiscriminately firing into crowded neighborhoods while under attack.  The New York-based Human Rights Watch group argues AMISOM's use of heavy weapons, including tanks, artillery, and Katyusha rockets, to respond to mortars and automatic weapons gives a boost to insurgents by alienating a large number of Somalis.

In a recent interview with VOA, Ugandan army commander Lieutenant General Edward Katumba Wamala acknowledged that heavy weapons are being used in Mogadishu.  But he denied the claim peacekeepers are firing back without regard for civilian lives.    

"How do you respond with an AK-47 when someone has fired a 120-millimeter mortar at you?  You cannot respond with an AK-47, which has a range of 400 meters.  You need to be able to respond with an equivalent.  And we fire where the mortars are coming from.  We can locate where the fire is coming from," said the commander.

Meanwhile, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a roadside bombing Monday that killed at least two government soldiers, but also took the lives of two civilians and left five others wounded.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid