Abdi, left, and another female colleague guard a police station in Mogadishu, where female army officials are rare.
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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.Somali army officials report female recruits have increased following the ouster from the capital in 2011 of Islamist rebels Al-Shabab."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 has forced many to give up. Officials say some female trainees want to serve as combat soldiers battling the Al-Qaeda-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.
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