A senior opposition official in Somalia has condemned African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers and al Shabaab insurgents for targeting civilians.
Col. Omar Hashi, the secretary of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), told Mogadishu-based Radio Codka Nabada (Voice of Peace) that both sides must be held to account.
The responsibility [for the bombing] lies with both sides, but AMISOM committed the bigger crime by bombarding civilian areas, Hashi said, adding The al Shabaab group who made the wrong decision are also criminals.
The ARS official said AMISOM peacekeepers did not start the violence, but responded to al Shabaab mortars launched from civilian areas.
Last week, al Shabaab rebels launched mortars at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport, which is a major base for AMISOM peacekeepers.
More than 50 people have been killed in airport-related violence since September 16, when al Shabaab issued the threat to shoot down airplanes landing at the airport.
Col. Hashi condemned both sides for the bombing of civilians, while calling on al Shabaab to rescind their decision to shoot down airplanes.
In June, the Islamist-led ARS opposition umbrella split into two camps after ARS Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed inked a peace deal with Ethiopian-backed Somali Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein.
ARS officials based in Eritrea are led by Islamist hardliner Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who has rejected peace talks until Ethiopian troops withdraw from Somali soil.
Col. Hashi is allied to the Sheikh Sharif-led ARS wing, which has been based in Djibouti since June 9.
Yesterday, a Somali MP accused AMISOM peacekeepers of committing “a massacre” in Mogadishu.