Four Somali soldiers have been arrested in connection with the death Deqa Dahir, a 9-year-old girl, who was shot dead in the capital, Mogadishu.
Dahir died and another girl was wounded when bullets sprayed their school bus while it was stuck in a traffic jam on Tuesday. According to Amnesty International, soldiers opened fire in an apparent attempt to clear the road for their vehicle, the rights group added.
According to the BBC, Dahir was shot in the head and died instantly in the attack. She was eating ice cream when she was killed by what appeared to be a stray bullet.
Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, met Dahir’s family as public anger over the shooting grew. Her father has demanded justice from the Somali government.
“My 11-year old son, who was also in the bus with Deqa, came home crying and shouting and told us that she had been shot dead,” Dahir Moalim Ali Farah said. “I ran to the scene of the incident, where I was told the body of my daughter was taken to Masaarida hospital.
It was shocking to see the dead body of my daughter,” he said. “I am helpless and need justice for my daughter.”
Dahir, per Islamic custom, was buried on Thursday, two days after she was killed. It’s the latest in a rash of incidents of officers and soldiers randomly shooting into crowds of civilians.
In another incident, the driver of a rickshaw taxi was hit by a stray bullet fired by a soldier the day before Dahir was killed. Militants often detonate roadside bombs in Mogadishu, often targeting random people.
Police chief Bashir Abdi Mohamed has now promised to prosecute anyone who shoots randomly into crowds.
Amnesty International has urged the Somali government to ensure that troops “do not use force unnecessarily and randomly against people going about their daily business”. Somalia is currently dealing with the militant group al-Shabab, which has been linked to al-Qaeda.
It has carried numerous attacks in an attempt to overthrow the government, which has been unstable since the fall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991.