AU troops accused of Somalia gang rape

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The Somali government has expressed concern over the alleged rape of a Somali woman involving a number of AU personnel at one of its camps. The incident happened in Maslah Military camp on August 8. The victim, Amran Hussein, is a mother of four and in her early 20's. She says that she was abducted by men dressed in Somali military uniform before being gang raped by several AU soldiers. The attack could undermine the African Union's mission to help stabilize the country, protect Somali civilians and battle against Al-Shabaab fighters. The 17,700 strong AU force has said in a statement that it takes the issue seriously. The mission also reiterated its commitment to enhancing the safety of women and protecting Somali citizens. The family of the victim says the perpetrators should be held accountable. In response, Mogadishu has formed a committee chaired by the Social Affairs Minister to look into the incident. Rights groups have in the past criticized government forces for committing rape in Mogadishu. In its April report on Somalia, the Human Rights Watch detailed serious violations of sexual violence especially in the camps housing the country's displaced. The UN Special envoy on Sexual violence says that her office will work to ensure that human rights are respected in Somalia and that all communities are free from gender based sexual violence. The UN office recently announced that it will dispatch a team of experts to Somalia to work alongside the police and the military and provide training in how to handle such cases. Sexual violence has been on the rise in Somalia over the past years, and has turned into a major challenge for the federal government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

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