Demonstrators hold placards during a protest against Al shabab insurgents outside Lido beach in the Somali capital Mogadishu, on January 28, 2016. Al Shebab killed at least 19 people when five gunmen detonated a bomb before storming a restaurant in the at Lido beach on January 22, 2016. / AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest against Al shabab insurgents outside Lido beach in the Somali capital Mogadishu, on January 28, 2016. Al Shebab killed at least 19 people when five gunmen detonated a bomb before storming a restaurant in the at Lido beach on January 22, 2016. / AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB

Aid agencies operating in Somalia on Sunday called for stern measures to protect women and girls in the Horn of Africa nation.

The Somalia NGO Consortium, a voluntary coordination mechanism of non-governmental organizations, said the recent kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of 12-year-old Aisha Ilyas Aden in the central town of Galkayo is an atrocious act of violence and urged the government to act swiftly to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

“This dreadful act is a reminder of the risks women and girls face in Somalia every day. If perpetrators go unpunished, these incidents will continue unabated,” Nasra Ismail, acting director of the consortium, said in a joint statement.

The agencies expressed concerns on rising incidents of sexual violence in the northern Somali region of Puntland, calling the newly elected president, Said Abdullahi Deni to take stern measures.

“No woman or girl should suffer this kind of violence. We owe to the women and girls of Somalia to ensure they are protected and when their rights and dignity are violated, they get swift and complete justice,” Ismael added.

Aisha disappeared on Feb. 24 when her mother sent her to a nearby grocery. Her body was found the next morning with signs of torture and rape.

Deni has vowed to arrest those behind the murder of Aisha, whose body was found dumped near her home on Monday, a day after she disappeared.

Mohamed Hassan Mohamoud, interim country director of Save the Children, said: “We have failed Somali children and it is time to take action.”

“We must work together to ensure no other child experience this sort of inhumane violence,” he said. Enditem

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