African Union peacekeepers guarding the New York-bound Somali president have killed 64 civilians and injured 165 others in the capital.
The casualties were caused after the soldiers, belonging to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), began shelling Mogadishu’s Bakara market in response to an insurgent fire, Press TV correspondent reports.
Hundreds of insurgents began moving towards Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport after they found out that Ugandan peacekeepers had secretly escorted President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed from the presidential palace, Villa Somalia, to the airport the night before.
On their arrival, the insurgents launched mortar attacks on the airport killing 27 of the peacekeepers. The bodies of the soldiers, who were either Somali, Ethiopian, Ugandan or Burundi, were later found inside the airport.
The killings occurred over President Yusuf Ahmed’s trip to New York.
The fighting resumed after a brief hiatus and following the arrival of an airplane which had flown from the port city of Bossaso in northern Somalia’s Puntland region to the airport to take the president to New York, in defiance of warnings by insurgents.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the most influential Somali clan, Hawiye, Abdullahi Mohamed Abuukar denounced the peacekeepers and the AU as ‘bloodsuckers’ of the nation of Somalia.
He said that thanks to the so-called peacekeepers, the injured people were queuing up at the Keydsaney, Dayniile and Medina hospitals. The latter alone has received around 100 injured civilians including women and children.
Abuukar called the attention of the United Nations and the ‘peace-loving’ nations to the ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the AMISOM troops in Somalia.
In a failed attempt at replacing the US-backed Ethiopian troops in the country, the African Union Mission to Somalia soldiers entered the violence-ridden country in 2007.
The Ethiopians, who invaded Somalia to back up the country’s transitional government, have as well been charged with various accounts of killing and plunder.