An unspecified number of UPDF soldiers is set to undergo trial by the army court for allegedly killing innocent civilians in Somalia.
In an incident that happened last month, bodies of seven civilians were discovered after a heavy exchange of gunfire between the AMISOM forces and Al Shabaab militant along the Beldamin-Golweyn Forward Operating Base in the Lower Shabelle region.
The exchange of gunfire followed an ambush by Al Shabaab militants as AMISOM soldiers patrolled the area.
However, there were reports that civilians had deliberately been killed during the incident, prompting AMIOSM to investigate the incident.
On Thursday, AMISOM released a statement indicating that investigations by a board of inquiry had found out that indeed seven civilians were killed during the August 10, incident.
The six-member board which was chaired by a representative from the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa with membership including representatives from both AMISOM and the Somalia Federal Government said that whereas that there was an encounter between AMISOM troops and Al Shabaab fighters, civilians were killed in a manner contrary to the rules of engagement.
“The board has established that regrettably, the seven people killed were civilians and the conduct of the personnel involved was in breach of the AMISOM rules of engagement,” the statement said.
The AMISOM said that the Ugandan government which is responsible for the implicated soldiers has since promised to arraign the soldiers before courts of law.
“Following due process, government of the Republic of Uganda as a troop contributing country to which the implicated soldiers belong has institute a court martial to try its errant soldiers. The court martial will sit and conduct its proceedings in Somalia,” AMISOM said.
According to the statement, the Ugandan government will reach out to the bereaved families to see how to condole with them.
This is one of the rarest incidents against the Ugandan troops that were the first to deploy in Somalia in 2007.
UPDF has since turned around the mission which had been declared dead on arrival by flushing the Al Shabaab out of the capital, Mogadishu that they controlled.
The UPDF have on several occasions been warned against letting down the Ugandan flag by involving themselves in acts contrary to the mission.