Somalia’s police have arrested four soldiers over the death of a nine-year-old girl in Mogadishu, the capital.
Deqa Dahir Ali, a pupil at Hamar Boarding School, was killed after soldiers opened fire on her school bus in an apparent attempt to clear a traffic jam along the city’s Digfer Street, Amnesty International said.
A bullet hit the girl on the head, killing her instantly and wounding at least another schoolmate, according to reports in the local media.
The rights group called on the Somali government to “take concrete steps to make sure that security forces do not use force unnecessarily and randomly”.
Deqa’s father, Dahir Ali Farah, said he felt “helpless and needing justice” for his daughter. Deqa was buried on Wednesday.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed met Deqa’s family amid public anger over the killing.
A beautiful girl’s life cut short after gunmen thought to be the bodyguards of a senior officer fired upon a School bus killing 9-year-old student Deqa Dahir Farah. Somali officials said on Wednesday that 4 people have been arrested in connection with killing (Photo by @DalsanFM) pic.twitter.com/PrOs66E3Yf
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) September 19, 2018
The commissioner of police, Gen Bashir Abdi Mohamed, has promised to prosecute all those involved in the shooting, state-run Radio Mogadishu reported.
“We won’t allow civilians to be killed by a gun which is supposed to defend them. Killing people and running away has ended. We will arrest them and bring them into justice straight away,” he said.
#Somalia Police commander General Bashir announced 4 soldiers arrested in #Mogadishu today after a 9 year old schoolgirl Deqa Dahir was shot dead in Mogadishu Yesterday. The 4 killers are escorting one of SNA Commanders called General Shagow , ex Shabaab commander. pic.twitter.com/EC2n5d8ZEV
— MDG (@Mados7Mohamed) September 20, 2018
Somali children have become increasingly vulnerable to violence, and perpetrators are rarely punished, according to UN children agency Unicef.