The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) strongly condemns the continual Kenyan airstrikes that kill and maim civilians in Somalia. The indiscriminate airstrike in El Adde and Hisa-u-gur in Gedo region, Jubaland State, on the 3rd of June 2021, is the most recent example of Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) operations resulting in the death and maiming of civilians, including women and children that are increasingly becoming an unpleasant hallmark of the Kenyan air force’s standard operating procedure.
These KDF operations cloaked under a claim of carrying out operations against extremism are undoubtedly conducted in a manner that is bereft of its obligation under the UNSC’s AMISOM mandate, particularly OP17 underlining the importance of AMISOM forces carrying out their mandate in full compliance with participating states’ obligations under international law, including with regard to the protection of civilians, especially women and children.
It is becoming increasingly obvious the provocative and indiscriminate manner the KDF conducts operations in Somalia, under the pretext of fighting extremism, will not contribute to efforts toward stabilizing and confronting extremism but only further radicalize communities in support of extremism.
Civilians and their properties must never be the target of military action. The Federal Government of Somalia has raised this wanton disregard for civilian life and property by the KDF, a core obligation of AMISOM, on numerous occasions with the Republic of Kenya and the African Union.
It’s to be noted, the Republic of Kenya’s leadership’s intransigence and inability to uphold the standard expected of the KDF in line with its obligation under international law is the reason behind the deterioration of diplomatic relations that led to the FGS severing all diplomatic ties with the Republic of Kenya.
It’s regrettable the KDF continues to be under the impression the Status of Mission Agreement (SMA) protects their actions from accountability for the illegal killing of the innocent and the destruction of private property.
To this end, the Federal government of Somalia will raise its concern of these increasingly frequent unilateral operations by the KDF to the PSC but also begin procedures for establishing a standing claims commission with the AU, as outlined in article XXV, paragraph 59, of the Status Mission Agreement, in order to hold to account perpetrators for these unlawful destructions of property and restitution for the victims.
The Federal Government of Somalia calls upon AMISOM to fulfill its obligation under paragraph OP18 of the UNSC’s AMISOM mandate to strengthen uniformity of reporting of civilian casualty and cooperate with FGS agencies in monitoring these repugnant and cowardly acts of collective violence against communities.
These acts of violence bring to focus the importance of the ongoing discussions on the Somali Transition Plan and the nature, as well as components of AU mission post 2021.