Mogadishu, Somalia – The deaths of three women in one week, allegedly at the hands of their husbands, have caused public outrage and sparked protests throughout Somalia over the country’s femicide rates.
The suspects in all three killings, which occurred in the first week of February, have been identified as the victims’ husbands. This has led to demonstrations in the capital, Mogadishu, with protesters holding up placards showing photos of one of the victims, Lul Abdi Aziz Jazira, as she lay in her hospital bed. The 28-year-old was doused with petrol and set alight, suffering severe burns and surviving in agony for seven days after the attack.
The brother of Jazira, Amudi Abdi Aziz Jazira, revealed that neighbors had heard a “ferocious argument” before finding his badly burned sister and rushing her to the hospital. Jazira, a widow with six children, was initially described by her brother as being in a happy marriage.
Meanwhile, in the southern district of Qoryoley, Saleban Haji Abdi has been arrested and charged with the stabbing death of 22-year-old Fus Mahfud Mohamed, his wife of seven years, who was pregnant with their fourth child. The father of the victim, Mahfud Mohamed Haji, described how previous disputes between the couple had been addressed through Somali customary law known as xeer.
The third woman to die has not been named, but police allege that she was shot by her husband in Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia.
Maryam Taqal Huseina, the chair of the Somali Women Development Centre, emphasized the lack of justice for these women and mentioned the prevailing societal expectation for women to remain silent. She highlighted the increase in new forms of abuse, including the exploitation of girls through social media.
The absence of specific laws against domestic violence in Somalia has drawn attention to the need for legislative action. A UN-backed sexual offences bill introduced in 2018 is still pending parliamentary approval, while a proposed sexual intercourse related crimes bill in 2020 has sparked concerns over its potential normalization of violence against girls and women.
The call for justice and accountability continues, highlighting the urgent need for action to address the issue of femicide in Somalia.