Somalia: IDP Mom’s Quest for Food Ends in Abduction & Torture. How you helped.

Field report prepared by Fartun

In a society fraught with constant insecurities, where rapes, honour killings, bigotry, and humiliation are conventional factors in the lives of women and young girls in Somalia; what would otherwise be considered as morbid acts of inhumanity, have over the years been merely deemed acceptable. SISTER SOMALIA aims at changing that by foremost creating a support system for this demographic of neglected women and young girls.

“Nadifa”, two time widow and mother of four young children is one of the women whom is being supported by SISTER SOMALIA. Nadifa first heard of the program through the community outreach ELMAN social workers conducted in several IDP camps throughout {X} region. Nadifa described the outreach session she and many other young women from her camp received at the beginning of August as the light at the end of the dark tunnel; she visited the ELMAN center the following day in desperation seeking guidance and support.

Her eyes visibly puffy and red from tears, she limped into the private counselling room to share her story. 20 days prior, Nadifa was maliciously attacked and tortured by a group of young militia men whom intended to rape her eldest 11 year old daughter. Nadifa recollects she had gone to a neighbouring IDP camp that was receiving a food distribution that morning, where she had hoped to be able to receive some dry food rations to take home to her children. Without success and many hours later, on her way home in the late afternoon, she saw an armed vehicle at the gates of her camp with several young militia men on board. As she passed them without much regard, she saw three other armed young men in front of her makeshift hut. Nadifa rushed into her home to find a young man inside her hut forcing himself on her 11 year old daughter, with her crying siblings in the small room. As she painfully fights the tears away, Nadifa shares she tried to pull the man off her daughter, scream for aid from the neighbours whilst trying to protect her younger children in the room from the other militia men whom had stormed into the hut right after her.

Nadifa shared with much frustration that several neighbours came out and idly stood by because they were afraid of the militia men.

“The man got off my daughter, grabbed me by the arm and took me out of the entire camp and the other men followed him, forcing people back into their huts that tried to say anything or get in the way…”

Once outside of the confines of the camp, Nadifa was taken to an abandoned and destroyed house in close distance of her home where two of the young men, whom she described to be no older than 28 years of age, began to beat her relentlessly. She was pistol whipped, kicked and punched numerous times before they tied her hands behind her back, tied her feet together and covered her head down to her shoulders with a large woven bag. “I was sure they were going to kill me” Nadifa shared with a blank, distant expression on her weary face. The brutality continued and escalated to unforeseen torturing. The young men began pinning plastic bags down on certain parts of her body and proceeding to burn it. They commenced on to burning plastic bags with torch lighters and watched as the scorching plastic dripped on to Nadifa’s skin; from her back to her stomach, her private areas down to her legs.

Nadifa could not withstand the pain and fell unconscious; the militia men abandoned her there. She shares she awoke in her home, without recollection of how she got there.

The ELMAN team classified Nadifa’s circumstances as critical and treated her condition in an emergency state. The support that ELMAN provided to Nadifa through the SISTER SOMALIA program was emergency relocation from the camp she and her children were formerly residing in. The ELMAN team feared the militia men might grow to worry that she will report the abuse and then go looking for Nadifa at her home and kill her. She and her four children were relocated to {X} in a large one bedroom home with washroom and kitchen in a much safer complex than the insecurity ridden makeshift hut they lived in before at the IDP camp.

Nadifa also received medical attention for her numerous third degree burns and medicine to help her heal. Nadifa and her young daughter have attended the center a few times for psychosocial support and trauma counselling; her beautiful daughter {X} has also been enrolled in the non-formal education program for the other young girls.

As Nadifa continues to recover physically, the SISTER SOMALIA program is making it possible for her to also heal mentally and emotionally and embark on the path towards rebuilding her life.

NOTE: You can support women like Nadifa by giving now!


One Response to “Somalia: IDP Mom’s Quest for Food Ends in Abduction & Torture. How you helped.”

  1. Unfortunately, this testimony is not in the cover of newspapers, I mean, media repeat same news about famine, drought, conflict, international aid… but this approach reduce to a simple figure thousands of stories like Nadifa’s.

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