Somalia: Somali armed forces ban and burn Muslim women's veils
Somalis are generally moderate Muslims, and most women traditionally cover their heads but not faces. Officials say some suicide attacks have been carried out by men disguised under full face-veils. Backed by Ethiopia's military, Somali government forces kicked the Islamists out of Mogadishu over the New Year. They have been facing an insurgency since then that has killed at least 1,300 people since February.
Just days ago, the government declared it had beaten most of the insurgents, but it is still wary of guerrilla-style attacks. Mogadishu residents said government troops and police had been forcibly removing veils and publicly destroying them.
"Yesterday, so many veils were burnt by the police," said taxi-driver Abdullahi Mohamed.
A Reuters witness saw some veiled women running away from police on Wednesday.
One girl, 17-year-old Iftin Hussein, said she had left her veil at home to avoid encounters with the police. Government troops are unveiling women. Yesterday, I was forced to run away to escape from being unveiled. This is wrong, but we cannot do anything, we are powerless," she said.