The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is investigating allegations of rape made against its soldiers in the Somali town of Maslah.
AMISOM and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) have formed a joint team to investigate the matter and appropriate action will be taken once the facts of the case have been established.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif said AMISOM takes the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse seriously.
“Our primary role is to protect the civilian population. AMISOM personnel are ambassadors of peace in Somalia and are expected to demonstrate the highest levels of integrity” he said. Ambassador Annadif noted that the majority of AMISOM troops have conducted themselves honourably in Somalia and have contributed to improving the well being of ordinary Somalis.
“Issues of sexual exploitation and abuse as well as the utmost respect for Somali culture are a crucially important part of the training every AMISOM personnel receives prior to deployment. This is reinforced during the course of our stay in the country” he added.
“As we have done in the past, we will take appropriate action against any soldier found to have contravened the African Union Code of Conduct,” said Ambassador Annadif, while at the same time appealing to the Somali people for patience as the investigations are being carried out in close collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS).
He further noted that the support of AMISOM troops have been crucial in helping the Somalia National Security Forces push the Al Qaeda-affiliated terror group, Al Shabaab, out of most of the major towns and cities of south and central Somalia.