Kenya, Ethiopia Using Excessive Force Against Somali Civilians

FILE – Ethiopian soldiers patrol in Baidoa, Somalia, Feb. 29, 2012. Both Ethiopia and Kenya have had troops in Somalia for years as part of an African Union mission mandate to fight al-Shabab.

ESAT News (April 28, 2017)

Kenya and Ethiopia have used excessive force against Somali civilians amid efforts to halt cross-border attacks by al-Shabab, according to an internal report by aid agencies working in Somalia.

The report, obtained by VOA’s Somali Service, says Kenya has carried out dozens of airstrikes targeting pastoral communities in Somalia’s Gedo region since June of 2015. It says Kenyan Wildlife Service personnel pressed into border patrol duty have targeted people with arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings.

According to the VOA, the report says Ethiopia deployed a paramilitary force along the border to push back pastoralists who had settled in a “grey zone” between Somalia and Ethiopia. It says the force, known as the Liyu Police, committed acts of sexual violence, including a practice called “break and rape” in which women’s limbs are fractured.

Kenya Defense Forces spokesman Colonel Jospeh Owuoth denied the accusations, saying Kenya attacks only al-Shabab targets. Ethiopian leaders in the region could not be reached, but the president of the region, Abdi Mohamud Omar, has previously denied all allegations concerning abuses by the Liyu Police, the VOA report said.