Sunday, October 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Female soldiers join the army ranks in Somalia

By
From page A10 | May 29, 2014 |

MOGADISHU, Somalia — With an AK47 automatic rifle slung over her shoulder, Naeemo Abdi frisks people coming into a Mogadishu police station.

When she holds back a man who tried to enter unchecked, he scowls at her and barks: “Woman and soldier?”

She did not respond but directed the man to the security checkpoint.

It’s unusual to see a female in the military in traditionally conservative Somali society where women’s duties are generally at home and limited to family chores. But Abdi and other determined women are breaking down those barriers. About 1,500 females are now in the military of 20,000, according to estimates.

The lean 25-year-old Abdi explains that she has endured many challenges joining the army two years ago. She moved from a conventional domestic role as a wife and mother of three to work in the army because she liked the prestige. She said she faced massive opposition from her spouse and family who thought she’d be cast off should she decide to become a soldier.

“It was difficult, but I must do this to serve my country unreservedly,” she said.

Her work as a soldier receives mixed reactions from her fellow Somalis. A few approve, but many think women should not be in the military.

“Gender is not boundary,” said Abdi, tightening her bootlaces. “If committed, women can work far better than men.”

At work they often wear camouflage trouser uniforms, boots and bright blue or purple headscarves topped by a beret with the military’s insignia. At other times they wear long skirts to observe Islamic dress codes. They also often carry heavy backpacks.

Somali army officials report female army recruits have increased following the ouster from the capital in 2011 of the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab. Order is slowly being restored in Somalia following more than 20 years of chaos and violence. Somalia’s state largely collapsed after a dictator was overthrown in 1991 and the country was run by feuding clans and more recently by Islamic militants. With support from the U.N. and the African Union, Somali forces pushed the extremists of al-Shabab out of the capital.

The army now controls Mogadishu, the sprawling seaside capital that has a population estimated at up to 3 million, most other cities and large parts of the countryside.

However the militants are still a danger, killing government employees, including soldiers. For protection, the women in the Somali army hide their identities out of the workplace by covering their faces and bodies with hijabs.

To further protect her security after finishing her shift, Sadiya Nur, another woman soldier, takes a circuitous route home to avoid being followed by possible extremists. Inside the bus, she chooses a back seat to avoid getting ambushed by assassins.

“My senses tell me to be suspicious because they don’t want to see me helping me my country,” said Nur, a soft-spoken but resolute 28-year-old. “My husband, family and everyone wanted me to stay at home! It didn’t work for me.”

Other female soldiers say their dedication to the army cost them their marriage and some family relations.

In spite of their progress, women complain of discrimination and inequality in the army, saying they are restricted to menial jobs.

“The only problem is women get relegated, and don’t get promoted to higher roles,” said female soldier Shukri Hassan.

For female soldiers, the rigid backbreaking military training was their main obstacle, and forced many to give up.

“Some of them could barely run for a mile, others cried and gave up,” said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer who supervised training for the female recruits.

Officials say some female trainees want to serve as combat soldiers battling the al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia — but most of them are deployed at police stations to help provide security.

“Getting senior female officers would inspire more women to join the army,” said Halimo Maalin, a female soldier.

Nevertheless, the new female army recruits take pleasure in their gains so far.

“We hope equality in our army will make a better impression in our community,” said Abdi, the soldier working at a police station. “We want to show that we can serve for good in our country.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Snakes, superheroes liven up Halloween Howl

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano looks at future of freight rail service

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Are your heroes the good and honorable type?

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Alpha Color Blast brings messy fun to participants

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Italian Festival brings out the Italian in everyone

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun council to examine zoning changes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Cover cropping your home garden

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

Seven nutritional soundbites for kids

By Kate Land Md | From Page: C4

 
More than planes draws crowd to Nut Tree Airport

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

A cut above: Hair-raising time at Locks of Love event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Voter registration deadline is Monday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Pots and pans, patios and more at home and garden show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Weather for Oct. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
Architecture that inspires present for all to see

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

Service members from county complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
‘Choice card’ doubts swirl as deadline nears

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

Suisun City Police log: Oct. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

First US Ebola victim remembered for compassion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Another year, another small Social Security bump

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

Family identify 4 kids, 2 adults killed in blaze

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Cops: Remains may be those of missing UVa. student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

Police: Another ambush suspect sighting reported

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Hawaii island hit by winds, rains from hurricane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraq lawmakers approve interior, defense ministers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, China vow to manage rifts ahead of Obama visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Container ship adrift again off Canadian coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
9 more bodies push Nepal blizzard death toll to 38

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Market week ends on high note

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Why I’m voting for Proposition 1

By Richard L. Wood | From Page: A8, 21 Comments

Time to vote: Do so wisely

By Rod Keck | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

 
Sound off for Oct. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Adult education step to future

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Dodd best choice for 4th District Assembly

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

.

Living

Dogs welcome at St. Louis museum about, well, dogs

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Why I don’t breastfeed, if you must know

By The Washington Post | From Page: C2, 2 Comments

Today in History: Oct. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Goshen residents team up to save damaged church

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Vatican mystery: Where did gay welcome originate?

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Mental illnesses are real, treatment is available. Get help today.

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Seattle woman uses social media against groper

By The Seattle Times | From Page: C8

 
.

Entertainment

New Mencken book features unpublished material

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6 | Gallery

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
John Green’s first book to be reissued in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

So which Giants Series team is the best?

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Bumgarner gets nod for Giants World Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Goff’s late INT sends Cal to 36-34 loss to UCLA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vanden JV football team downs American Canyon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Canada helps Montana hold off UC Davis 42-28

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ben Martin takes Las Vegas PGA lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bruce Bochy has the postseason touch with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Vickers wins pole in strange Talladega qualifying

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Trade for Shields spurred Royals to turnaround

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

On the money: Can you go solar? Leases, loans make it possible

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Flavors fuel food industry, but remain a mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Recalls this week: toy toasters, folding tables

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Federal offshore oil lease sale set for March

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Review: Stir Kinetic smart desk makes you stand up

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Lawrence Weber

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Larry Lee Stanley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Chloe Chicko Kenty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Billy Raye Carter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Alton Lauderdale

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics