Somali wives in the northern region of Sool have been going to court to seek redress after being left to raise their children single-handedly by husbands migrating to seek a better life overseas.
According to the chairman of Lasanod court, Hassan Mohamed Warsame, 200 cases have been filed in the court since February 2018by wives seeking to hold their husbands or their husbands’ families accountable for supporting them and their children.
“The court has received many cases of neglect by husbands who went abroad. All these women complain of lack of financial support from their husbands’ families,” said Warsame.
The court files show that most of these wives are aged between 18 and 28 and each has several children.They are either seeking a divorce, or asking for mandatory financial support from the husband’s family.
“All the cases have been filed by wives whose husbands have been missing for three or four years. They are lacking both their rights and those of their children. After investigations, we conclude the cases as per the law,”the court chairman explained.
The first case, filed by a woman in February 2018, led to her being granted support by her husband’s family. The success of her case prompted many other women to file their own cases.
Faduma Abdi Mohamed, a mother of four children, went to court seeking a divorce. After two months ofproceedings, Fadumatold Radio Ergo that she secured a divorce certificate from the court.
Her husband, Mohamed Abdirahman, used to work on construction sites, bringing in some income for the family. He left Somalia for Yemen and ended up detained by militia groups in Libya.
Faduma says she took the decision to file for divorce after her husband’s family refused to support her. The familyhad argued that they were also struggling financially to try to free their son,who is being held for ransom by Libyan gangs.
“After I failed to get any support from the family, I started a restaurant business to support my children. In December 2018, the court granted me a divorce. I am now the sole breadwinner of this family,”Fadumasaid.
Asha Diriye, another abandoned wife, sought help from the court after her husband set off forYemen aiming to get to Europe. The court ruledthat her husband’s family must provide her and her two children with monthly food rations.
According to her brother in-law, Ahmed Mohamed Dualeh, Asha’s husband has been in the hands of Libyan gangs for the last three years.
“Abdirahman Mohamed, who is my brother, is now being held in Libya.We have struggled to free him and spent over $10,000 but our efforts have been in vain. His wife went to seek either a divorce or financial support from us, and the court directed us to give her $200 per month,” said Ahmed.
Safiya Mohamed, a mother of three,said she is also planning to go to court as she has heard that there is no fee involved for filing a case.
Her husband, Abdihakim Jama Mohamed, migrated in 2016 leaving her and her children behind without any support.She says she has been struggling to feed her children since he left and failed to get support from his family.
“I am unable to manage this family alone. I have no other alternative but to file a case at the court because I discussed with his family but until now I have had no feedback from them,” Safiyatold Radio Ergo.
The court has delivered rulings on 32 cases since the round of applications began. Of these, 23 cases involved women granted support from their husbands’ families, while nine weregiven a divorce.
The court chairman said that some of the husbands in the neglect cases brought before him had ceased their support to their wives and children even though they had reached Europe.