170,000 Mentally ill tied to trees and left to die in Somalia

The Muslim Issue

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Mon, 7 Oct 2013 01:28 PM

Author: Emma Batha

Men walk on a beach in front of a building destroyed during a war in Mogadishu June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

In Somalia there’s a belief that a mentally ill person can be cured by shutting them in a room with a hyena.

Mentally ill people in the war-ravaged country are often chained or locked up. Others are tied to trees and abandoned when their families are forced to flee fighting.

In one of the most moving radio interviews I’ve heard in a long time, psychiatric nurse Abdirahman Ali Awale, who is commonly known as Dr Habeeb, told how he was reduced to tears every day by what he sees.

“I have saved many, many patients who have been left to die. They have been tied to a tree and abandoned simply because they are mentally…

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