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In looking for an escape and refugee, 21 Somali women and girls have made claims of being raped by the same people who were to protect them. According to Al Jazeera, women and girls have reportedly been gang-raped by African Union soldiers as well as made to barter sex in exchange for food, medical treatment and other kinds of humanitarian aid, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report found.

“Some of the women who were raped said that the soldiers gave them food or money afterwards in an apparent attempt to frame the assault as transactional sex,” HRW said in the report released Monday.

“They have also raped or otherwise sexually assaulted women who were seeking medical assistance or water at [AU] bases,” the report stated.

From Al Jazeera:

AMISOM said the alleged rapes were “isolated” incidents and called the report “unbalanced and unfair”.

The vulnerable women largely came from camps in the capital Mogadishu, having fled rural Somalia during a devastating famine in 2011.

AMISOM donors include the EU and the US.

The AU soldiers, “relying on Somali intermediaries, have used a range of tactics, including humanitarian aid, to coerce vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity”, the report read, based on testimonies of 21 women and girls.

“They have also raped or otherwise sexually assaulted women who were seeking medical assistance or water at AMISOM bases.”

The youngest interviewed was aged just 12, who said she was raped by a Ugandan soldier.

Human Rights Watch and the African Union are allegedly investigating the rapes.

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  • Anthony

    From everything I have read, rape is a bad problem with troops from a number of countries that supply peacekeepers. I know Pakistani soldiers have been bad about rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rape is a terrible crime by itself, but it also delegitimizes the AU’s mission, and can turn the population towards Al Shabab.

    I tend to believe there has been rape if there was sexual contact with Somali women because Somali traditionally look down on people from countries like Uganda because their features are less “white” than those of Somalis. The fact most of these soldiers are not Muslim would also make voluntary sexual contact
    very unlikely.

    • blogdiz

      Anthony re “Somali traditionally look down on people from countries like Uganda because their features are less “white” than those of Somalis”
      Not all black people in the world reference or frame their world around “whiteness” Somali Ethiopians Eritreans tend to believe their culture and appearance or more advance/refined than that of other Africans (call then bantu) Similarly how the French may feel they are superior to Say Italians .Many Somalia’s live much of their life without seeing one white person so whiteness isit the basis for their bias (which does exist ) I believe you are using your AA measuring stick here

    • Anthony

      @blogdiz, I actually began my career working in the Horn of Africa, and part of my work was studying Somalia although my actual research was in what is now the Republic of Sudan. Somalis have traditions of Non-African, specifically Arab origin, and have a pretty long history enslaving their darker neighbors. Of course, many Somalis are progressive and Pan-African in their outlook, but the prejudice does still exist, just colorist exists in my community.