Outrage in Somalia as Police Name Husbands as Suspects in Separate Murders of Three Women, Two of Whom Were Pregnant

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The deaths of three women in one week, all allegedly murdered by their husbands, has sparked outrage in Somalia and led to days of protests 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. Two of the victims were pregnant. Despite the prevalence of death and violence in a country that has been plagued by conflict for over three decades, the killings have prompted demonstrations in the capital, Mogadishu.

One of the victims, Lul Abdi Aziz Jazira, sustained severe burns after being doused with petrol and set on fire. Her brother, Amudi Abdi Aziz Jazira, described the harrowing incident, stating that neighbors heard a “ferocious argument” before finding the badly burned woman and rushing her to the hospital. Jazira, 28, was a widow with six children before meeting her second husband.

In another district, a man has been arrested and charged with stabbing his pregnant wife to death. The couple’s familial disputes had previously been addressed through Somali customary law known as xeer. The father of the victim lamented his inability to attend his daughter’s funeral due to recent floods that had ravaged the roads.

A third woman was allegedly shot by her husband in southern Somalia. Meanwhile, in a separate incident near Mogadishu, a man was arrested outside his family home in possession of gasoline and matches, prompting neighbors to intervene in what appeared to be an attempt to set his wife and children on fire.

The chair of the Somali Women Development Centre has emphasized the need for justice for the three women, stating that women are often expected to remain silent in Somalia. She further highlighted the prevalence of domestic violence and other forms of abuse against women, which have been exacerbated by the rise of new forms of exploitation through social media.

The killings have brought attention to the absence of specific laws against domestic violence in Somalia, as well as the challenges in passing comprehensive legislation to address sexual offences. The governor of Mogadishu’s Benadir district has promised financial support for the children of one of the victims, but concerns persist regarding the government’s response to the crisis.

The string of femicides in Somalia has prompted outcry and demands for change, as activists and organizations continue to advocate for justice and legislative reforms to protect women from domestic violence and abuse.