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Rape and armed attacks on Somali women uncontrolled in Baidoa IDP camps

Rape and armed attacks on Somali women uncontrolled in Baidoa IDP camps

Safiyo, 26, lies in a hospital bed in the southern Somali town of Baidoa, recovering from multiple stab wounds after a brutal attack on 22 June.

Safiyo – whose real name we have concealed to protect her – told Radio Ergo a man sneaked into her house in Tawakal 2 Diinsoor camp on the outskirts of Baidoa, and locked the door.

Her husband was away at the time, having returned to their home in Daynunay, 30 km away, to see if it was possible to return to their farm. Her sister was also out.

Safiyo was alone with her three children.  She was badly injured in an attempted rape that left her with three deep knife wounds, one of which is on her left breast.  As she is on a ventilator now, and talking is difficult, her sister took up the story with Radio Ergo’s local reporter.

“The man attempted to rape her, and when she tried to defend herself he attacked her and stabbed her and stole some of her belongings.  As he was leaving she started to scream for help, but he came back in and attacked her again,” Safiyo’s sister said.

Safiyo is living in fear of another attack, as the camp has no security.

According to the director of the South-West state’s Relief and Disaster Management Ministry, Liban Sheikh Shuaib, 120 women are reported to have have suffered violent attacks in Baidoa’s numerous IDP camps since January.

He said the insecurity is due to the fact that the camps live on the outskirts of the town where there are no police stations.

Radio Ergo spoke to another displaced women, Amina – again not her real name – from drought-hit Buush-Madina village, in Buurhaka. She said a man broke into her house on 1 June armed with a knife and raped her. She was unable to protect herself.  Her screams finally brought help from her neighbours, who prevented the attacker from further injuring her.

Amina is a single mother of seven children living in Buula-Gomor camp.  She asked for assistance from human rights groups or anyone else who can help her.  Most women, she said, fear to share their stories of rape because of the stigma it attracts.

Amina said she came forward and chose to share her story to try to raise awareness of the need to improve security in the camps to prevent so many attacks taking place.

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