Somalia rape victim accuses AU force

2013-08-20 23:17

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Nairobi - Abducted, drugged and gang raped in Somalia: a young mother details the most brutal of allegations against African Union troops and Somali soldiers in a case causing widespread anger.

"The soldiers raped me... I tried to defend myself but they beat me badly and I passed out," she said, speaking to the Somali Channel television about the attack earlier this month.

She alleged she was stopped on the streets of Mogadishu by three soldiers from the national army, blindfolded and forced into a car, before being handed over to African Union troops, where she says she was repeatedly raped.

She has needle marks on her arms from where she says drugs were injected during the several hours long assault in the Maslah compound, a Ugandan troop base on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

"There were other women in the room... one of the them badly bleeding," she added, speaking from a hospital bed.

The woman, in her late 20s with a young baby, was unconscious during the attack and says she does not know how many men raped her. She was later thrown back onto the streets.

Amisom, the 17 700-strong United Nations-mandated force that supports the government in its fight against al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, said it has launched an investigation together with the Somali army.

"Appropriate action will be taken once the facts of the case have been established," Amisom said in a statement.

Somalia's Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said in a statement that the government was "deeply troubled by the alleged rape... involving a number of personnel from Amisom."

Amisom, fighting since 2007 in Somalia and funded by the UN and European Union, insists it "strongly condemns ... sexual abuse or exploitation".

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