As a mother of a teenager, the news that two girls had been executed publicly in the center of Beledweyne, a Somali town near the border of Ethiopia, in late October brought more than indignation and sadness. I felt heartbroken and unable to really process the story of two innocent young women being terrorized for an accusation that had little to do with evidence or even a firm belief that they were first, guilty, and second, malicious or threatening enough to deserve murder. It was merely a weapon of fear, just the same as their public execution, which instilled in the local community that there is no man, woman, or even child who is safe from Al Shebab or its senseless extremism.
I imagine having been the mothers of these two young women, being forced to come into the center of town, where they were being held. Several women in the crowd fainted at the scene–a shock to all their senses–and all lamented the state of affairs in the town, where dozens were being held in prison, and these two young women, said to be innocent by those who knew of them and their activities best, were murdered without even an option to voice a defense.