Just after 2am on January 10th a group of eight armed men invaded the “Bulo Bacley” settlement in Puntland and kidnapped four women. They raped two of them, while the remaining two managed to flee. Incredibly, some of the men were immediately recognized as members of the local police. Only one suspect is currently being held in custody.
In mid December a 16-year old girl with mental disabilities said she was gang raped on her way to collect firewood by a group of marines in Garacad town. Four suspects were arrested but all were freed shortly afterwards.
One week later yet another 29 year old woman was raped at gunpoint in northern Galkayo by an army official. The case was reported to the police but they have done nothing since apart from confiscating all medical records from the survivor.
This is more than a random pattern. Even a local mayor I spoke to confirmed that the issue has gotten much worse in recent months and that, instead of protecting women and girls, police have increasingly become the perpetrators of rape.
The Galkayo Center stepped in to help get urgent medical, psychological, legal and financial support for all of these survivors, but as a front line women’s group we have very limited resources and can’t afford to keep doing this.
We hope you will make a donation towards our challenging work to stem this tide – not only by providing support, but also by holding the police and government accountable for their actions towards Somali women and girls.
Hawa Aden Mohamed
Executive Director, The Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development