News: Sophie - The Face of Poverty

somalia woman

Hargeisa, 1,500km north of Mogadishu, is home to thousands of displaced people from south-central Somalia. Sophie, 27, came to the city with her husband and three children, aged between 18 months and eight years, but her 10-year-old son was lost on the journey.
She and other women were robbed and raped along the way. She spoke about her plight:

"We used to live in north Mogadishu. We had a shop which was run by my husband and I had a stall in the market. We were not rich but we had enough to feed our family.

"The area got to the point where no one was safe and looting and rape became normal. Many houses were destroyed. One night, our neighbour's house was totally destroyed and no one survived. In the blink of an eye the entire family was dead.

"Our house was partially destroyed but we escaped unhurt. That morning we decided to leave with other families and take our children to some place safe.

"The journey was long; it took more than nine days. I lost my boy and we were robbed of everything we had. The bandits took us away from the main road and into the bush. They told the men to lie down and then took the women they thought looked good and young and raped us; five other women and myself. Our husbands heard our cries but could do nothing. They were being held at gunpoint.

"By the time we reached Hargeisa we had nothing. The people here [in Hargeisa] have been very kind. In the camp the residents let us share their dwellings. (Full)

More posts on The Road about Somalia, refugees and poverty,

Reprinted with courtesy of IRIN
Picture courtesy Derk Segaar (IRIN)


iphigenie 28 October, 2008 16:37  

This just shouldnt be allowed to happen in 2008... in a strange way this was brought home to me in the novel 1632, in which a bunch of modern day americans happen to end up in 1632 - and promptly are shocked about how cheap life is, how rape, murder etc. are common and mercenary bands roam etc. And I was shocked to think that actually there is no need to send people back in time, there are parts of the world where life is close to how it was in 1632. Shame on us all...

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