In the latest decree by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group that governs most of southern Somalia, women in the seaside town of Kismayu have been banned from carrying out barter trade with the male crews of ships calling at the port.
Many Kismayu women, mostly widowed or divorced, have survived for years solely from selling or bartering vegetables and fruits for fuel and other commodities from ship crews.
The al Shabaab group — which means “the youth” in Arabic — have in the past banned movies, musical ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and watching soccer.
“We have been born and raised as Muslims and we don’t know where Islam says women can’t work. They have taken these ideologies from outside Somalia, from the Taliban and other militants,” said Abdiwahab Abdi Samad, professor of history at the University of Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya.
This report, from December 2010, highlights the hate group’s increasing power: