European parliament calls for war crimes probe in Mogadishu Somalia.

dambiya dagaal

EU Parliament

 Halkaan ka akhri

NAIROBI (AFP) — European deputies called Thursday for an independent probe into war crimes and rights violations in the Somali capital, where the government is battling rebels, a statement said Thursday.

The resolution, adopted by the European Parliament, “strongly condemns the serious violations of human rights committed by all parties to the conflict”.

It called for “an independent panel to investigate war crimes and human rights violations.”

The resolution also called for an immediate ceasefire and in particular an end to indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

“The African Union’s member states are pressed to provide peacekeeping troops, while the international community is urged to provide financial and logistical support for those troops,” said statement from the parliament.

Currently, there are at least 1,600 AU peacekeepers from Uganda and the pan-African group has failed to raise the 8,000 it pledged.

The resolution also called for the existing UN arms embargo on the country to be enforced.

Dozens of civilians have been killed and at least 170,000 displaced in fighting between in the recent fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts and allied Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops.

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, speaking to reporters in Nairobi, confirmed the civilian fatalities. “When two elephants fight, the grass suffers,” he said.

The UN secretary general’s special envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said Tuesday that war crimes suspects in the shattered African nation should be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court to end impunity.

In April, a European Union envoy to Kenya, Eric van der Linden, asked Brussels to investigate whether Ethiopian and Somali forces had committed war crimes in their recent crackdown on Islamist and clan insurgents in Mogadishu.

Since Ethiopian troops swept aside the Islamists who had briefly governed much of the country in April, civilians have often been caught up in the fighting, particularly in the capital Mogadishu.

Witnesses have said that Ethiopian forces indiscriminately shot civilians in a bid to clamp down on insurgents.

The resolution also called for “the cessation of all foreign military intervention in Somalia,” apparently referring to thousands of Ethiopian forces who were deployed to bolster Yusuf’s government.

The armed wing of the radical Islamists, Shabab, renewed its call on its fighters to attack the AU peacekeepers in their campaign to drive out pro-government forces from the Horn of African nation.

“Like Ethiopia, Uganda also invaded our country. We will fight and assassinate their officers. All other African troops sent to Somalia will face the same fate,” said Islamist commander Adan Hashi Aryo in a message posted on a pro-Islamist website.

The Ugandan army, which has lost five troops in Mogadishu since it arrived in March, reacted coolly.

“We regard that as terrorism because our troops have not attacked them despite the shelling and killing of our troops,” Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulaigje said.

The recent Mogadishu clashes have deepened the humanitarian crisis that has dogged the nation for 16 years, with areas just outside the city struggling to cope with the latest influx of displaced people.

Humanitarian groups have complained that insecurity has blocked them from accessing civilians blocked in Mogadishu.

The Shabelle region — Somalia’s breadbasket — has suffered its worst crop in 13 years, putting the lives of nearly a million on the edge of starvation.

Bloody clan feuds and power struggles, which intensified after the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, have undermined repeated bids to stabilise Somalia.

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