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Somalia investigates alleged rape by AMISOM soldiers

By Nima Elbagir and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
August 15, 2013 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
Fartuun Adan is a champion for women's rights and the co-founder of Sister Somalia, the East African country's first rape and crisis center. Fartuun Adan is a champion for women's rights and the co-founder of Sister Somalia, the East African country's first rape and crisis center.
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Confronting Somalia's rape crisis
Confronting Somalia's rape crisis
Confronting Somalia's rape crisis
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Somalia's prime minister orders an investigation into the alleged rape of a Somali woman
  • She was allegedly attacked by AMISOM soldiers at a military base in Mogadishu
  • "The Somali government will not tolerate violation of human rights," prime minister says
  • AMISOM says it is investigating and appropriate action will be taken

(CNN) -- Somali authorities said Thursday they are investigating the alleged rape of Somali woman by soldiers belonging to an African Union peacekeeping force.

The woman was allegedly attacked at Maslah Military Camp in the capital, Mogadishu, a week ago, a statement from the prime minister's office said.

"The Somali government will not tolerate violation of human rights, in particular sexual violence towards the most vulnerable members of our society and perpetrators will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law," Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon is quoted as saying at a meeting with his senior Cabinet members.

The prime minister has ordered an investigation into the allegation.

Doctors Without Borders leaves Somalia
A shelter for Somalia's rape victims
Tackling sexual violence in Somalia

The African Union Mission to Somalia, AMISOM, said it had formed a joint team with the Somali National Army to look into the claims.

"Appropriate action will be taken once the facts of the case have been established," it said.

"The AU mission strongly condemns any incidents of alleged sexual abuse or exploitation and takes the issue extremely seriously as it reiterates the mission commitment to enhancing the safety of women and indeed protecting all Somali citizens."

Every AMISOM soldier is given training on Somali culture and "good conduct and discipline, particularly regarding sexual behavior" before deployment to the country, the statement said.

READ MORE: Women help each other at Somali rape crisis center

Somalia's government has pledged to do more to tackle the ongoing problem of sexual violence against women, as it rebuilds the country after more than two decades of conflict.

At least 1,700 women were raped in camps for internally displaced people last year in Mogadishu, according to United Nations figures.

The United Nations says 70% of the rapes perpetrated in Somalia are carried out by men in military uniforms.

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