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An international watchdog, Human Rights Watch is accusing Somali security forces of raping and unleashing violence on women at the internally displaced camps in the capital, Mogadishu.

The body’s 80-page report is titled “Hostages of the Gatekeepers: Abuses against Internally Displaced in Mogadishu, Somalia”. It details serious violations, including physical attacks, restrictions on movement and access to food and shelter, and clan-based discrimination against the displaced.

The report came barely a week after a UN Independent Human Rights Expert on Somalia expressed satisfaction at the country’s pace of reforms to uphold human rights.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has welcomed the Human Rights Watch report and said the testimonies are heartbreaking and deplorable and totally unacceptable.

Human Rights Watch says it found rape and sexual abuse of displaced women and girls, including by government soldiers and militia members, has been an enormous problem in the unprotected environment of the camps.

However President Hassan in a press statement said that his government is committed to the restoration of civil security in Somalia.

In its 80 page report, Human Rights Watch says that members of state security forces and armed groups have raped, beaten, and otherwise abused displaced Somalis who have arrived in the capital Mogadishu fleeing famine and armed conflict since 2011.

According to the President, reform of the security institutions is underway and discipline and professionalism issues in the security sector are being addressed.

The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, on Wednesday arrived in Mogadishu to raise awareness and discuss ways of addressing sexual violence in the Horn of African country.

Tens of thousands of people fled south-central Somalia for Mogadishu where many are living in camps as the African nation suffered its greatest famine in almost sixty years.