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Woman narrates how she was repeatedly raped by wanted Shabaab terrorists

A woman who was raped by Kenyan Al-Shabaab militants in Boni Forest has identified her assailants after authorities placed bounties on their heads.

In one of the most tragic tales from the besieged terrorist hideout, a young woman Aisha (not her real name), recognized the men who gang-raped her when she saw their pictures splashed on mainstream media.

The two rapists are Issah Abdallah Ahmed aka Kauni and Ahmed Said Omar aka Dogo whom Kenyan police put on terror watch list as some of the militia who captured and sexually assaulted her in Boni forest.

She narrated how the two, together with other militia in the forest, repeatedly gang raped her and beat her up.

She said there were other women who are too afraid to be interviewed.

Aisha told police that some of the women who suffered the ordeal were pregnant while others escaped with HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

Her woes started at the age of 18, when she was lured away from home with the promise of being given employment in Malindi, Kilifi County.

She explained how after reaching Malindi, they stayed at an unknown residence for the night. She believes that the water they were given to drink was spiked.

BLINDFOLDED

The next thing she remembers is that she woke up and found herself in a room with three men who she believes had had their way with her.

Later, she was blindfolded and taken to Boni forest where she worked as a cook for three years.

For the next three years, she was raped numerous times by different members of the militant group.

Her respite came in the form of an old medicine man fetching herbs from the forest who helped her escape her barbaric captors and return to Mombasa.

According to the locals, the fighters hope for support from them but the locals are categorical that they will not support them.

The communities around Boni forest have refused to supply the criminal gang with water, food and information on the security operation in the area.

The locals say that is why they are attacking them.

For instance, on June 27 this year along the Kiunga-Mararani road, the militants killed Muslim children who had boarded a police truck and were heading to school after happily celebrating Idd-ul Fitr with their parents.

Security agencies in the area say the recent attacks by the criminals holed up in the forest targeting shops for food was because the fighters have been cornered in the forest and do not have any food supplies.

WAR ON TERROR

But despite their barbaric actions, the communities living along the Coastal and North Eastern regions have vowed to support the fight against terror

“Although the fighters hide behind the religious war rhetoric, their actions show otherwise,” said a local who cannot be named for fear of reprisals.

“The group has also not received any support from their Al Shabaab leaders in Somalia and this has led to the fighters becoming impatient, disillusioned and resorting to criminal activities.”

Security agencies have now launched a manhunt for the criminals and their cohorts.

“Aside from facing terrorism charges, when they are apprehended, they will face criminal charges including abduction, assault and rape,” said a top security officer.

Kenyan security forces have adopted a three-pronged approach to the war on terror in Boni forest.

While KDF soldiers engage the militants in direct combat that involves aerial bombardments and infantry soldiers combing every inch of the forest, NIS detectives infiltrate neighbouring villages to flush out locals collaborating with the terrorists, while police arrest and interrogate suspects with the aim of charging them in court.

The exercise was commissioned by the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and is being complemented by the National Police Service.