National and International Civil Society Organizations operating in Somalia have expressed concerns on increased incidents of sexual violence in Puntland, calling the newly elected President, Said Abdullahi Deni to take stern measures to address acts of violence against women and particularly girls.
In a statement issued by the Somalia NGO Consortium, a voluntary coordination mechanism of NGOs, stated that the recent kidnaping, rape, torture and murder of a 12-years-old girl Aisha Ilyas Aden in the central town of Galkayo is an atrocious act of violence and urged the government to act swiftly to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
"This dreadful act is a reminder of the risks women and girls face in Somalia every day. if perpetrators go unpunished, these incidents will continue unabated," says Nasra Ismail, Acting Director of Somalia NGO consortium.
"No woman or girl should suffer this kind of violence. We owe to the women and girls of Somalia to ensure they are protected and when their rights and dignity are violated, they get swift and complete justice."
Aisha's rape and murder is not an isolated case in Puntland despite the State having Sexual Offensive law in place, which criminalizes all forms of gender-based violence in Puntland. Since Aisha's case was reported, a number of other cases of similar nature were cited by the local and national media, quoting different sources.
This is alarming and demands immediate action from the government, community leaders and civil society by endorsing and implementing the sexual offensive laws, which if implemented, can help women and girls to be safe and protected.
"We all need to also ensure that justice for rape victims and survivors is a reality throughout the country. We all have a role to support the government to widely disseminate and sensitize the public on the applicable laws that regulate sexual and gender based violence," added Nasra.
"We have failed Somali children and it is time to take action. We must work together to ensure no other child experience this sort of inhumane violence, said Mohamed Hassan Mohamoud, Interim Country Director of Save the Children.
Aisha disappeared on Monday 25 th February when her mother sent her to a nearby grocery. Her body was found the next morning with signs and wounds of torture and rape. "The Somali NGO consortium and its members stand with Aisha's family and friends during this difficult time." Nasra added.