Security officers in South West state have undergone training on how to tackle conflict-related sexual violence in their areas of operation. The 30 officers drawn from the Somali National Army, Somali Police Force and ministries of health, internal security and women and human rights were taken through the different forms of conflict-related sexual violence, early warning indicators on conflict-related sexual violence, safety and protection of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, child protection and the impact of sexual violence in Somalia and among other topics.
“The purpose of this training is to raise awareness among Somali National Security Forces that conflict-related sexual violence remains a major challenge in the country due to its continued use as a weapon of war,” said Gloria Jaase-Nkundanyirazo, AMISOM Protection Officer. Commenting on the increased cases of conflict-related sexual violence in various parts of the country, Ms. Nkundanyirazo noted that the training was tailor-made to empower security officers to take the lead in the fight against the crime.
Al-Shabaab and its affiliate groups remain the main perpetrators of the crime, which often targets vulnerable groups mainly women and children: “We want to give them [Somali security officers] the necessary skills that will enable them investigate the crimes and take action against perpetrators to help end impunity,” the AMISOM Protection Officer added.
Chief Inspector Bernard Azagisnaba, AMISOM Community Policing Advisor, urged security officers to help raise awareness on the dangers of conflict-related violence to the country’s progress: “We are expecting them to be agents of change by raising awareness in communities, schools, mosques and families about conflict-related sexual violence and why we should all fight the crime,” said Chief Inspector Azagisnaba.
Lieutenant Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a police officer who attended the training, pledged to share the knowledge acquired with colleagues working in various police stations: “It is our duty to protect human rights especially the rights of the vulnerable groups. We are ready to share what we have learned with our colleagues who did not attend the training,” said Mr. Mohamed. His remarks were supported by Maryan Sheikh Ibrahim, a representative of the state Ministry of Women and Human Rights who expressed optimism that the participants will be effective agents of change in their communities.