New report accuses AMISOM forces of rape & sexually abusing Somali women
Mogadishu (Harar24) – A newly released report by the Human Rights Watch brings to light shocking facts and horrifying cases of rape, sexual abuse and exploitations of Somali women and girls by AMISOM troops.
The 71-pages long report is based on various researches conducted by the Human Rights Watch group, including 21 interviews with rape, sexual abuse and exploitation victims. It further documented 24 cases compromising of sexual abuse, exploitation and rape, 5 of which involved victims under the age18, with the youngest victim aged 12 at the time, who was allegedly raped by a Ugandan soldier on the outskirts of Baidoa in May 2013.
“Members of African Union (AU) forces, making use of Somali intermediaries, have employed a range of tactics to get private access to Somali women and then abuse them” the report said, outlining that AMISOM soldiers “used humanitarian assistance, provided by the mission, to coerce vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity”.
According to the Human Rights Watch report, all cases allegedly happened at the AMISOM Halane base camp and the base for the Burundian contingent at Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district, both which are manned by Ugandan and Burundi forces, despite this the fact that other AMISOM contributing countries may have perpetrated similar crimes can’t be ruled as the report focuses majorly on Mogadishu where the Burundian and Ugandan forces are predominant.
Harar24 contacted several alleged rape victims who declined to speak, except one who requested to remain anonymous. “This may come as a shock to many who have just found out about our ordeal, but we want people to know that this is a regular occurrence in Mogadishu” she said. Harar24 further contacted the administrations of some IDP camps, the administrations declined having anything to do with the cases or facilitating anything, but affirmed that some vulnerable and needy women may go outside the camp to seek aid at the AMISOM base, which leads to exploitation.
These revelations come to light at a time where the AMISOM forces have spread across Southern and Central Somalia amidst an ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab, where locals are reportedly fearful and wary of any assistance or services offered by the AMISOM due to the believed grim outcomes of such offers.