MOGADISHU, Somalia, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The United Nations said it was concerned by allegations a Somali woman was raped by members of an African Union peacekeeping force in the country.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said sexual violence is one of the worst challenges facing the fledgling Somali government. OHCHA documents approximately 800 cases of sexual violence in Mogadishu during the first six months of 2013.
U.N. special envoy for Somalia Nicholas Kay said he was concerned by reports members of the African Union Mission in Somalia raped a woman near its military campus in Mogadishu in early August.
"It is important that any investigation is rigorous and prompt," he said in a statement Sunday. "If there is a case to answer, any perpetrator should be prosecuted and held fully accountable while basic rights are protected."
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia is tasked with providing support to African Union troops as they train for deployment. Kay said the U.N. mission would continue working on addressing sexual violence as it works to support its mandate for Somalia.
Somalia last year formed a central government for the first time since the 1990s. It's struggled to exert its influence beyond Mogadishu because of terrorist control and separatist ambitions.