NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Somalia rape women seeking medicine on their bases and routinely pay teenage girls for sex, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday.
HRW documented 10 incidents of rape and sexual assault, including the rape of a 12-year-old girl, by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in 2013 and 2014.
The rights group said most of the incidents took place on AMISOM bases in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, where women come for medical care and to beg for food.
“Where this case is particularly shocking is the direct use of humanitarian assistance to lure these women in,” said Laetitia Bader, one of the report’s authors.
“These were displaced women coming in to get medical assistance and it’s when they are in the outpatient clinics that they get approached by a Somali intermediary who says: ‘Why don’t you come back to the base? We’ll give you medication,'” Bader told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
One woman, known as Ayanna, told HRW she was gang raped at gunpoint by six Burundian soldiers after going to their outpatient clinic to get medicine for her sick baby.
One of the three other women who were also raped at the same time was badly hurt.
“We carried the injured woman home,” she told HRW. “Three of us walked out of the base carrying her… She couldn’t stand.”