Two small Somali children are being treated at a hospital in Mogadishu after being abducted and brutally raped in a field in a town 30 kilometers west of the capital.
The doctor treating the girls spoke to the media last week about their condition.
“They need a major surgery,” Dr. Mohammed Yusuf of Medina Hospital said. “This is a serious injury. I hope they will get their rights.”
Yusuf said the children are ages 3 and 4 years old.
The Somali government condemned the “inhumane act.”
“We condemn it in the strongest terms possible of this gross act of violation against the two children in Afgoye,” Minister of Information Mohamed Abdi Mareye said.
Officials in the town of Afgoye, where the incident took place, said the two girls were abducted Monday from their homes while their parents were away attending a wedding.
“They were abducted in the evening and were taken to a place four kilometers away from the town,” Afgoye Mayor Ibrahim Omar Qasim told VOA Somali. He says the two children are extremely traumatized.
“They are crying when they see a man,” he said. “They are in a shock.”
After being left in the field to die, they were discovered the next morning by farmers who alerted authorities.
“They look very bad,” said Qasim, describing the current condition of the girls. “They were extensively sexually assaulted.”
Authorities in Afgoye say they have arrested a number of suspects in connection with the attack.
Incidents of rape have been widely reported in different parts of Somalia in recent years. In February, authorities in the Somali region of Puntland executed two men who abducted, gang raped and then brutally killed a 12-year-old girl in the town of Galkayo in 2019.
Three men were sentenced to death in May under a 2016 sexual offenses law in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, the first in Somalia to criminalize offenses such as sexual harassment and rape. The execution of the third man was delayed without official explanation.
But it was later revealed by a relative of the victim that the man was released after an agreement to pay the family 75 camels as compensation for the girl’s rape and murder.
Rape is pervasive and often goes unpunished in much of Somalia. Victims have traditionally been forced to accept compensation — often in the form of camels or livestock — and marry their assailants, a centuries-old practice designed to end war between rival clans.
Activists have been calling for tough legislation to bring these crimes to justice.
Asha Aden contributed to the report