Camels in Erg Chebbi, Morocco, at the edge of the Saharan desert. (AP Photo/Giovanna Dell’Orto)
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A group of teenage boys who posted a video online of themselves raping two girls must not be allowed to evade jail by paying for their crime in camels, campaigners said, in a case that has sparked outrage in the conservative Horn of Africa country.In the attack last month, six teenage boys forced the girls, aged 14 and 16, into a car and drove them close to the Ethiopian border where they stripped and raped them, taking photographs and video, according to activists counselling the victims.Rape is pervasive and often goes unpunished in much of Somalia, where decades of conflict have fuelled a culture of violence and weakened institutions meant to uphold the law.Traditionally, rape victims are forced to accept compensation – often in the form of camels or livestock – and marry their assailants in a centuries-old practice designed to end war between rival clans.Women across Somalia are often reluctant to report rape for fear of being denounced as impure and immoral and rejected by their families.
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