As in any other war, it has been women and children who have borne the brunt of the fighting through extortion, the loss of male heads of households who have died in the fighting, incarceration or migration, reduced health and educational facilities and displacement. Because many men have either fled to India or into the jungles, women have had to take on the responsibility of running the households and the work burden on women and children has increased considerably.
The conflict has left more than 4,000 women as widows and these women find themselves in an insecure situation due to traditional beliefs and customs, thus increasing the risk of becoming involved in sex work or trafficking.
Reports of increased incidences of depression amongst women in conflict-areas has been reported, as has increased numbers of rape and early marriages.
From their findings, the human rights organisation INSEC recently called for increased services for women victims of violence and for widows due to their related social exclusion.