A set of pictures that were posted to Facebook by Somali journalist Mohamed Yusuf Bakayle allegedly portraying a child and an adult man as a “newlywed couple” in Burco have gone viral. The pictures depict a child who has only been identified as Saabiriin and an adult man who has been identified as Sikaawi in what can be considered to be romantic poses. The child is said to be 14-years-old, while the man is said to be in his 40s.
Although most comments to the pictures have elicited shock and confusion, surprisingly, reactions to this child marriage seem to differ wildly on Somali social media. Saxardiid Xaashi Ardaale, a page with over 52,000 likes reposted the pictures congratulating the pair. Bile Beshir Mehbub, a journalist with over 100,000, shared the same sentiment
Child marriages are constitutionally considered to be against the law in Somalia. According to Article 28(5) of the Somali Provisional Constitution of 2012, it states that “A marriage shall not be legal without the free consent of both the man and the woman, or if either party has not reached the age of maturity”.
[Picture courtesy of Facebook]