Nairobi — The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has formed a seven-member inquiry team to probe the killing of seven civilians in Somalia's Golweyn area by Ugandan soldiers.
AMISOM had reported that on August 10, seven civilians were killed during an exchange of fire when its troops who were on routine patrol were ambushed and attacked by Al Shabaab militants.
In a statement issued on Saturday however, AMISOM said that preliminary investigations indicated that those killed were not Al-Shabaab members but civilians even as it condemned "any form of criminal activities by its soldiers."
"AMISOM is investigating reports that its troops were responsible for the death of the seven. The leadership has since the incident met with elders community members and government officials and assured them of their commitment to identifying and punishing those who breach rules of engagement," the statement indicated.
It promised to identify and punish those responsible and issue a report by September 6.
The Board of Inquiry will be tasked to establish the extent to which the troops were responsible for the death of the civilians and recommend payment of amends to the affected families in the event AMISOM troops are found culpable.
The legal inquiry is led by a senior official from the Federal Government of Somalia and a senior officer each from the AMISOM military, police, and Mission headquarters. The mission is to work directly with the government and affected families.
"AMISOM remains steadfastly committed to peace and security and the protection of the local population. The mission is committed to carrying out its mandated tasks in Somalia in strict compliance with its obligations under the applicable International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law and its Rules of Engagement," the statement read in part.
The Government of Uganda also vowed to ensure that soldiers found culpable are tried under a Court Marshall which will be constituted and held in Somalia.
"AMISOM is taking a legal approach to these serious allegations in line with international best practice and is committed to conducting a thorough investigation as quickly as possible, hold anyone responsible, and abide by all findings of the inquiry," the African Union military alliance stated.