Sunday, September 13, 2009

African Union Soldiers and Killing Camels

This story is either funny or not, depending on your perspective. Maybe some readers can shed some light on whether this is unusual or not.

Anyway, here's the story:

African Union soldiers shot dead 11 camels in the Somali capital on Saturday night, mistaking the galloping animals for an insurgent attack, residents said.

Al Shabaab rebels sometimes use passing civilians and vehicles to give them cover before attacks, police said, and the peacekeepers from AMISOM mission thought they were behind the camels which ran past the entrance to Mogadishu's airport.

"We thought Islamists and AMISOM were fighting last night, but this morning we just saw 11 dead camels," resident Farah Aden told Reuters. "Each camel had at least 10 bullet wounds -- the whole area was covered with blood."[...]

"It was our new forces and they were not aware of the camels' movements. They say they were attacked, and so opened fire," [an AMISOM spokesperson] told Reuters.

Are these the preemptive/offensive operations that follow the change mandate we discussed recently? Is it easy or not to mistake camels for insurgents? It just strikes me as weird.


  1. I can't speak to African Union soldiers, but once I was told that a hundred AAF (anti-afghan forces) were rapidly charging my postion. This came via the radio from a UAV overhead. They gave me the grid. I checked the map and looked up. I saw a herd of goats.

    I guess sometimes animals really look like insurgents.

  2. Wow--still you looked up and saw the goats and didn't just start shooting them. Seems to me that killing a herd of goats would likely piss off the locals, not quite as much people but goats (and camels) are valuable. You have them for a reason.

  3. If the new rules of engagement mean trigger-happy soldiers or troops frightened by their own shadow, then God help Somali civilians!!!
    Might it also be lack of equipment, like night-vision goggles?