Robert Slattery is a writer living in Western North Carolina. He enjoys music and all sorts of other things.
Taureg Rebel Rapists
Human Rights Watch members in Mali are reporting stories of Mali women being raped by armed Taureg rebels representing the newly formed National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) rebellion. The assaults are among a number of movements against the freedoms of local women and foretell a possibly bleak future.
MNLA spokesman Moussa ag Assarid replied to HRW’s accusations, denying that the incidents involved men of the MNLA: “These men are not MNLA, but are other men around…We cannot control all the people in Azawad.”
The Taureg rebels are unified under the MNLA banner, seeking the succession of Azawad, a region in northern Mali once ruled by the French.
The contested area is under the influence of not only the MNLA but the increasing presence of Islamist groups, native and foreign, are causing Mali women to fear not just the present, but the future. Mali women have previously experienced “freedom and relative equality compared to women in other countries in the region” and with the imposition of Sharia law in the region, that looks likely to fade away quickly, unless the situation is recognized and addressed by global forces capable of influence in an area typically ignored.
Read more at A Safe World for Women.