Mogadishu — Somalia's federal government has accused African Union forces in Somalia (AMISOM) of "taking sides" in recent days of heavy fighting in the southern port city of Kismayo, Garowe Online reports.
Somali Deputy Information Minister Abdishakur Ali Mire held a press conference on Sunday in Mogadishu, claiming that Kenyan contingent of AMISOM forces deployed in Kismayo were involved in two days of fighting whereby at least 80 persons were killed.
Minister Mire accused AMISOM forces "using heavy weapons that led to civilian casualties, displacement and looting" in Kismayo fighting, June 28-30.
"Somali Federal Government considers it as clan fighting and the government is very disappointed with AMISOM forces taking sides and supporting one side in Kismayo fighting, as AMISOM role made it easy to attack Somali government forces base in Kismayo and many soldiers were killed," said Minister Mire.
"This role violates AMISOM mandate approved by U.N. Security Council Resolutions and Somali Federal Government calls for new African troops [not from Kenya] to be deployed in Kismayo," said Minsiter Mire, who read the press statement to the media.
The Somali government called for the appointment of a "new African Union political officer in Kismayo not from Kenya, an independent fact-finding mission to be sent to Kismayo to investigate the damage of the fighting, for Kenya to immediately release Somali military commander Col. Abbas Ibrahim Gurey and to restore him to his position as military commander, and the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance to civilians wounded in Kismayo fighting," Minister Mire said.
AMISOM forces in Kismayo arrested Col. Abbas on June 28, with reports saying he is suspected of involvement in a roadside bombing that led to AMISOM casualties in Kismayo last week.
Fighting erupted in Kismayo on June 28, with troops loyal to Jubaland President Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Ahmed Madobe) fighting against illegal militia. On June 30, Jubaland forces successfully chased out the illegal militia from Kismayo.
The illegal militia's leader, Col. Barre Hirale who is reportedly funded by Somali government in Mogadishu, has publicly claimed that he "agrees with Al Shabaab's position to fight Kenyan Christian invaders in Kismayo", according to an audio recording posted on the Internet.
The situation in Kismayo remained calm for the second half of Sunday, after Jubaland forces expelled Hirale's illegal milita from Kismayo.