New York, 18 January 2013 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui is deeply concerned about the killing of several children during military operations by the African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on Tuesday.

The same day of the event, Major General Salvatore Harushimana, acting AMISOM Force Commander, committed to open an investigation on 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.”

“I also urge the African Union to further strengthen its efforts to minimize child casualties in their operations and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. My Office stands ready to provide the necessary support in this regard, if requested,” Ms. Leila Zerrougui said.

Special Representative Zerrougui also stressed that the protection of children must be a central aspect of the African Union’s peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, such as in Mali and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

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For further information, please contact:
Muriel Gschwend
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 917 367 35 62
+1 347 749 52 76