Somalia: Respect International Laws On Combat, Somalia Army Chief Tells SNA Soldiers

Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the Somali National Army (SNA), Maj. Gen. Abdiweli Jama Hussein 'Gorod', has instructed his troops to ensure compliance with International Humanitarian Law, when conducting military operations in the country. The CDF warned that soldiers who disregard the law will be prosecuted. He also distributed the "Code of Conduct for Combatants' to the local army to familiarize them with combat rules, which guides on how to protect civilians and their property, limit destruction and respect civilian property during combat, among other rules.

The Humanitarian Law regulates the conduct of forces in armed conflict and seeks to protect the rights of civilians who are not participating in hostilities. "When you want to maintain security and you are fighting insurgents (Al-Shabaab), there are international laws to be observed which must to be safeguarded," Gen. Abdiweli cautioned the soldiers. "The religion of Islam ordains that. The people you are protecting, those you are fighting with and those you are fighting for should be very clear to you."

Senior officials of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) joined the army chief and troops to discuss the tenets of the International Humanitarian Law, at the General Gordon Military Academy in Mogadishu on Monday. AMISOM is spearheading training of the Somali National Security Forces on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. "The rules apply to situations of war and these are officers and soldiers who are going to conduct operations soon. The idea is that they ensure compliance with applicable international obligations; rules that protect the victims of war; rules that limit the effects of armed conflict; rules that restrict methods and means of warfare," explained Dr. Omar Abdulle Alasow, the Senior Advisor to AMISOM on International Humanitarian Law.

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