SIHA Briefing on the latest wave of targeted killings of women
Targeting civilians, both men and women is not a new issue in Somalia. Thus a growing trend of gendered killings is spreading across Somalia. The militant armed militia Al Shabaab and previous waves of active militant Islamic ideology overwhelmed Somalia since the 1990s. These ideologies have succeeded in instating public discourses, and broad ideologies which mainly reject women’s roles and visibility in the public arena. This has poisoned women and girls day to day lives and living in the country. Increasingly, women became breadwinners, as a result of the altered economic and social expectations placed upon communities; women claimed their space, a trend which was seen against the ideology and perceptions of morality presented by Al-Shabaab and the deeply ingrained patriarchal society structures.
(women garbage collectors in Mogadishu, gathering before beginning their mission- Credit: Witness Somalia)
The targeted killings seem to add a new layer to Al-Shabaab’s agenda, targeting those who contribute to the economy, working with government or are active in politics, and some publicly outspoken against Al-Shabaab. What stands out is that all women targeted are affiliated with organizations, efforts and roles that are contributing towards the transformation of Somalia. These contributions women bring onto the table, to stability and sustainable peace are being undermined by those militant ideologies and patriarchal society structures, subordinating women and subjecting them to violence and discrimination. In 2008 a clear statement was sent to women, who dedicated their time to turning the Somali capital into a better place. In November 2008 a bomb blast explosion planted inside a pile of trash exploded and claimed the lives of 21 female street cleaners, a major incident which terrorized residents of Mogadishu. On 3rd August 2014, a similar explosion killed 3 street cleaners and injured 7 others.
Within recent months, in particular since December 2015, targeted killings of women appear to be on a fast rise, with so far five women having been assassinated, among them politicians, community leaders, journalists and UNHCR workers. The attacks against women are, besides spreading fear among communities, no setback in regard to women’s contributions, who continue to capitalize on their potentials, chances and opportunities. They are not letting their voices be silenced.
13th June 2016, Zainab Muhudin Mogadishu, Somalia
On the evening of 13th June 2016, unidentified gunmen killed Zainab Muhudin, in Mogadishu’s Shibis district as witnesses and government officials said Zainab Muhudin was a renowned woman in the district and involved in politics. The attackers managed to escape. Mogadishu security officials said. Zainab Muhudin’s killing is the latest of a number of killings of women within the past months.
9th June 2016 Dhudi Yusuf Adan, Galkaayo, Somalia
The killing of Somali women leader and outspoken peace activist Dhudi Yusuf Adan occurred on 9th June 2016. The chairperson of the Mudug Women Association, which aims to campaign and promote women’s political participation in Puntland State, has been shot in front of her home dusk prayers in Galkaayo’s Garsoor neighborhood, witnesses and police have confirmed. The attackers armed with pistols fled after the assassination. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but because of her anti-Al-Shabaab speeches many suspect Al-Shabaab behind the killing. The local Security forces of Somalia’s northeastern semi-autonomous region of Puntland have later on arrested ten suspects linked to the murder of Dhudi Adan. Puntland security officials say, on 14th June the army launched house-house searches at villages in northern Galkaayo, headquarters of Mudug region and managed to detain the suspects.
Sagal Salad Osman, 5th June 2016, Mogadishu, Somalia
Somali journalist Sagal Osman a university student of Computer Science at Plasma University, who was working for state-run radio called “Radio Mogadishu was killed few minutes after she went for a meeting preparing for her final examination at the University campus, on 5th June around 3.30pm. Sagal was standing outside the front gate of the university with her friends, when three armed men attacked her with pistols. She sustained fatal injuries. The perpetrators managed to escape.
17th April 2016, Fowsiya Hassan Elm, Mogadishu, Somalia
On 17th April, unidentified gunmen have shot and killed a cleaning lady working for UNHCR in Mogadishu, while wounding another woman. Eyewitnesses said pistol-wielding men on a motorbike have executed Fowsiya Hassan Elmi, a mother of five children. The rickshaw she was travelling was sprayed with bullets. The attack took place in Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district as the woman and her sister who worked as cleaner at UNHCR office were heading to her workplace in Mogadishu. The killers have managed to escape from the scene before security forces arrived.
14th December 2015, Amina Noor Mohamed, Mogadishu, Somalia
Amina Noor Mohamed was killed in the afternoon of 14th December 2015.She was shot by unknown gunmen while travelling in a private vehicle driven by a staff member from a UNHCR partner organization who also lost his life in the attack. She had been working as Senior Community Services Assistant with UNHCR in Mogadishu since 2011. She leaves behind her husband and two children, aged 2 years and 3 months.
3rd December 2015, Hindia Haj Mohamed, Mogadishu,Somalia
On December 3rd Hindia Haji Mohamed a mother of 5 children, who worked as journalist for a state-run radio station and TV channel in Mogadishu has lost her life, after a bomb which was planted underneath the seat of her car, exploded. Hindia was the widow of a former journalist who also died in 2012 restaurant attack. She was studying International Relations & Diplomacy at Somali International University and had the ambition of being an ambassador to represent her home country Somalia across the world.
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