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Somali security forces train on mitigating conflict-related sexual violence

Beletweyne, 18 January 2018 � Security forces in Beletweyne, in Somalia's Hiraan region, have undergone training on how to mitigate conflict-related sexual violence in their areas of operation.

The four-day training organized by the African Union Mission in Somalia increased the participants' understanding of the magnitude of sexual violence in their communities, while at the same time sensitizing them on the importance of human rights observance in their work.

Thirty participants drawn from the Somali Police Force, the Somali National Army (SNA) and the intelligence forces took part in the training.

The essence of this workshop is to sensitize the participants on the need to protect our women and girls in the society, explained Chief Inspector Bernard Azagisnaba, the AU Police Community Policing Advisor.

He added that the training was also aimed at increasing the participants' knowledge on women and children's vulnerability in society and the need for protection against sexual violence.

Col. Mohamed Hassan Ibrahim, the commander of the 22nd division of the Somali National Army who officiated the training, urged participants to use skills acquired, to educate themselves on how tackle challenges related to sexual offenses.

Human rights is about how well we behave within the society where we live, he told the participants. We are fighting to liberate all including women and children, from the burden of Al-Shabaab, so the skills we receive from this workshop should help us to handle better the people we are meant to protect, he stated.

Mohamed Mohamud Roble, a police officer, and participant at the workshop concurred that the workshop had imparted useful skills that would come in handy while maintaining law and order in the community.

We have been trained on matters related to gender-based violence against women and children. While it was already a requirement for us to discourage such offenses, the SNA troops, the police, and the intelligence forces have learned a lot, on how to handle cases of sexual violence, said Mohamed.

Lieutenant Habibo Hassan Farah, a military officer with the SNA said she expected every member of the disciplined forces to discourage all forms of violence, including sexual violence in conflict.

I am a shield and defender of my country's flag and it is painful to see our women subjected to sexual abuse and violence. The workshop has taught us pertinent issues regarding human rights compliance and particularly, how to defend women against gender-based violence, remarked Habiba.

The Beletweyne training workshop which ended on Thursday was preceded by a similar one held for security forces in Jubbaland State, at the beginning of January 2019.

Source: African Union Mission in Somalia