Paris: Eight Djibouti women who went on hunger strike 19 days ago to protest alleged rapes committed by troops in their home country, ended their protest on Tuesday, saying they had achieved their aim of highlighting their situation.
"This strike is a first step and the fight against impunity continues," said Aicha Dabale, spokeswoman in France of an advocacy group supporting the women.
Ten other Djibouti women have decided to take up the baton and launch their own hunger strike in Brussels from Wednesday, she told AFP.
Refusing food but accepting water, apple juice or tea, 10 women launched the action on March 25, but two later dropped out for health reasons.
Lying on camp beds at a women`s charity in southern Paris, four of the women have said they had been raped by soldiers fighting rebels in their homeland.
The women from the ethnic Afar group, which straddles Djibouti`s borders with Ethiopia and Eritrea, accuse troops battling a rebellion in the region of taking revenge on the local population, including through rape.
A Djibouti government spokesman said the woman`s allegations were "without credibility".
The rebels say they are fighting to keep the Afar from being marginalised by the Issa, Djibouti`s other main ethnic group which dominates the regime of strongman President Ismail Omar Guelleh.
A committee, including former French ministers, has been set up to look into the women`s rape claims.