African Union troops urged to minimize child casualties in Somalia

African Union troops urged to minimize child casualties in Somalia
# 19 January 2013 02:48 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. A senior United Nations official on Friday urged the African Union to strengthen its efforts to minimize child casualties in their operations after several children lost their lives earlier this week in Somalia, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

In a news release issued by her office, UN secretary-general's special representative for children and armed conflict Leila Zerrougui voiced her deep concern about the killing that took place during military operations in the Lower Shabelle region by the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, acting AMISOM Force Commander Major General Salvatore Harushimana committed to opening an investigation into the facts and circumstances which led to the incident.

"I welcome the proactive stance taken by AMISOM to acknowledge the tragedy and to open a thorough and timely investigation. I hope that this examination will result in concrete measures to prevent further violations," said Zerrougui.

She also urged the African Union (AU) to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, adding that her office stands ready to assist in this regard.

Protection of children must be a central aspect of the AU's peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, such as in Mali and areas affected by the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), she noted.

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