Sexual attacks reported against Somali women

11 August 2011 - 21:09 By Sapa-AP

A U.N. envoy is expressing concern about reports of sexual attacks against Somali women fleeing famine.

Margot Wallstrom, the secretary-general's special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said in a statement Thursday that women and girls "are subjected to attacks, including rape, by armed militants and bandits" on the journey to the Kenya border.

Once in Kenya or at the Dadaab refugee camp, she said, "their hopes of finding a safe haven are often overshadowed by new dangers and hardships, including the risk of rape."

Wallstrom said her office also has received "alarming information about alleged rapes" by government-allied militias in south-central Somalia and of Al-Shabab Islamist militants abducting girls for forced marriage to fighters.