Girl Is Stoned to Death in Somalia After Reporting Rape

Associated Press
Sunday, November 2, 2008

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Nov. 1 -- A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery, a human rights group said.

Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Monday in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismaayo, Amnesty International and Somali news media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamist militia in charge of Kismaayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.

Initial local news reports said that Duhulow was 23, but her father told Amnesty International that she was 13. Some of the Somali journalists who first reported the killing later told the human rights group that they had reported she was 23 based on her physical appearance.

Calls to Somali government officials and the local administration in Kismaayo rang unanswered Saturday.

"This child suffered a horrendous death at the behest of the armed opposition groups who currently control Kismaayo," David Copeman, Amnesty International's Somalia campaigner, said in a statement Friday.

Somalia is among the world's most violent and impoverished countries. The nation of about 8 million people has not had a functioning government since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991 and then turned on each other.

A quarter of Somali children die before age 5; nearly every public institution has collapsed. Fighting is a daily occurrence, with violent deaths reported nearly every day.

Islamist fighters with ties to al-Qaeda have been battling the government and its Ethiopian allies since those combined forces pushed the Islamists from the capital in December 2006. Within weeks of being driven out, the Islamists launched an insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians.

In recent months, the Islamist fighters have appeared to be gaining strength. The group has taken over the port of Kismaayo, Somalia's third-largest city, and dismantled pro-government roadblocks. They also effectively closed the Mogadishu airport by threatening to attack any plane using it.

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