Mogadishu, Somalia — Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud gave a stern warning to Somali government forces to uphold the law and protect civilians, Garowe Online reports.
The statement was made by the President of the Federal Government following a meeting in Mogadishu between federal government and military officials on Sunday. Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, Defense Minister Abdihakim Fiqi and Minister of Internal Affairs and Security Abdihakim Hussein Guled attended the Sunday meeting.
President Hassan thanked the government forces for their courage and dedication and gave a prayer for the forces that died fighting for Somalia.
Continuing, President Hassan reminded the armed forces that their responsibility was to uphold law and protect citizens.
On Sunday, one civilian was killed after a gun battle broke out between Somali armed forces in Beledweyne.
According to Hiiraan Online a web based Somali news agency, shots were fired after one group of armed forces argued with another group who were carrying their weapons illegally in the Beledweyne market in the capital of Hiraan region.
The government spokesman for Hiraan region Mohamed Nur Agajoof stated that one young man working in the Beledweyne market was killed from the altercation between the armed forces.
President Hassan in Mogadishu stated that any armed forces that are found guilty of killing another person will be sentenced to death.
"Any soldier who kills another person will be put to death; any soldier who rapes somebody will be put to death, as written in the Islamic Sharia," said President Hassan.
Incidents of soldiers causing harm to civilians have grown since the expansion of Somalia's armed forces. Last month a soldier fired at a vehicle carrying passengers through Mogadishu killing 1 civilian and injuring 5 others.
Some Somali analysts believe that the incidents have grown due to poor recruitment practices by military officials in Mogadishu.
The stern warning comes at a time when Minister of Defense Mr. Fiqi stated that the government cannot defeat Al Shabaab without the UN sanctioned arms embargo lifted.