2014-10-24
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Somalia vows action over alleged rape by African Union troops

photo_1377108803917-1-HD.jpgA convoy of AMISOM drives down the main road leading to the airport in the Somali capital Mogadishu on August 5, 2013. Somalia's government vowed Wednesday to deliver justice in the case of a local woman who alleged she was gang raped by African Union troops and Somali soldiers. (AU UN IST PHOTO/AFP/File)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Somalia's government vowed Wednesday to deliver justice in the case of a local woman who alleged she was gang raped by African Union troops and Somali soldiers.

"My team and I are committed to getting to the bottom of this case, and all other allegations of sexual violence," Somalia's minster for human development, Maryan Qasim, said in a statement Wednesday.

"We want perpetrators of crimes to be brought to justice and to build a society where the rights of every citizen are protected."

Qasim, the head of a government team probing the case, distanced herself from an audio recording in Somali media in which she appeared to angrily criticise rape victims for publicising their cases in the press.

Instead, she said she had been "misquoted and misrepresented", and that she had instead been stressing the need to "protect each and every rape victim's identity".

"Rape in all its forms is totally unacceptable," Qasim added. "The government cannot tolerate such incidents, no one should be allowed to violate the rights of Somali women."

Late last week a Somali woman alleged she was kidnapped by three soldiers from the national army, blindfolded and forced into a car, before being handed over to African Union troops to be repeatedly raped.

The unnamed woman, in her late 20s with a young baby, told Somali media that she was unconscious during the attack and says she does not know how many men raped her.

AMISOM, the 17,700-strong United Nations-mandated force that supports the government in its fight against Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, said it has launched an investigation together with the Somali army.

AMISOM, fighting since 2007 in Somalia and funded by the UN and European Union, insists it "strongly condemns ... sexual abuse or exploitation".

The force is mainly made up of troops from Uganda, Burundi and Kenya, with smaller numbers from Djibouti and Sierra Leone.





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