After months of denial, Somalia's government has for the first time acknowledged that its security forces were involved in rape cases that drew an international outcry by human rights groups.
Army commanders often denied accusations that soldiers were involved in a spate of rapes, blaming the crimes on the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab who wore army uniforms to smear the reputation of the military.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, while speaking to military cadets at a training camp in Mogadishu yesterday, said his government would ‘fight those who rape as he'd fight al-Shabab,’ the Al-Qaeda-linked rebel group fighting his government and the African Union forces in Somalia.
In March, the New York based Human Rights Watch accused Somalia's security forces and armed groups of raping and beating displaced Somalis who came to the capital fleeing famine and armed conflict.
But Somalia has begun military tribunals in which soldiers have been punished and the number of rapes have declined since then, say residents.