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France: Djiboutian activists continue hunger strike against rape by soldiers

France: Djiboutian activists continue hunger strike against rape by soldiers

Djibouti

Ten Djiboutian women on Tuesday were on the twelfth-day of their hunger strike in Paris against impunity of rape by soldiers in their country.

They said many women living in areas where armed soldiers operate in both the north and south of Djibouti are being sexually assaulted but no one is saying anything about it.

With the financial help of Djiboutians living in Europe and with the support of a French based NGO- Women Solidarity, they began their quest on the 25 March

There were several soldiers. They raped her in front of her parents. That was in 2003, she was 16 years old, they left her to die.

Water, apple juice, sweet tea are all they have been feeding on. One of them, too weak, was forced by doctors to refuel.

“It’s not pleasure that I starve myself,” said 30-year old Fatou Ambassa, fasting in memory of her cousin..

“There were several soldiers. They raped her in front of her parents. That was in 2003, she was 16 years old, they left her to die,” Ambassa added.

Four of them claim to have been raped by soldiers in their country several years ago. Before taking refuge in France or Belgium, they lived in areas which the FRUD Afar rebel movement has been operating for 25 years.

Spokesperson of the group Aisha Dabale said doctors in the country are even afraid of issuing medical certificates attesting to the rapes.

“People are afraid practices would be closed. There are tremendous pressures and therefore if we talk about the assault of a soldier, no doctor wants to testify, “ said Dabale

The women also demand the opening of an international investigation and seeking recognition of rape as a war crime.

A few days before the presidential election in Djibouti, due to be held April 8, 2016, they hope their action will be noticed.

AFP

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