The Shabab militant group, which presents itself as a morally righteous rebel force and the defender of pure Islam, is seizing women and girls as spoils of war, gang-raping and abusing them as part of its reign of terror in southern Somalia, according to victims, aid workers and United Nations officials. Short of cash and losing ground, the militants are also forcing families to hand over girls for arranged marriages that often last no more than a few weeks and are essentially sexual slavery, a cheap way to bolster their ranks’ flagging morale.
From a gut-wrenching piece in The New York Times on the increasing violence against women in Somalia.
doctorswithoutborders

doctorswithoutborders:

It is with great sadness that the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirms that two of its staff members were killed Thursday morning as a result of a shooting at the MSF compound in Mogadishu, Somalia.

While one of the aid workers died during the shooting, the other was transferred to a hospital and died following surgery Thursday evening. The victims are Belgian and Indonesian nationals.

The exact circumstances of the shooting are not yet clear. MSF’s immediate priority is to take care of those most affected by this tragedy, in particular the families and colleagues of the victims.

MSF will be relocating some staff from Somalia for security reasons but remains committed to continuing its humanitarian work in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends at MSF. We have so much admiration for their commitment to continue helping the people of Somalia.

It is important to remember that however plagued Somalia is, however routine conflict, drought and disease have become, however many Somalis have already needlessly died, Somalis are not somehow wired differently from the rest of us. They are not numb to suffering. They are not grief-proof. I’ll never forget the expression on Mr. Kufow’s face as he stumbled out of Benadir Hospital into the penetrating sunshine with his lifeless little girl in his arms. He may not have been weeping openly. But he looked as if he could barely breathe.
Jeffrey Gettleman, in a stunning piece in The New York Times on the crisis in Somalia.