News / Africa

UN Condemns al-Shabab Raids and Humanitarian Aid Ban

Al-Shabab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia. (File Photo)
Al-Shabab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia. (File Photo)
Nico Colombant

United Nations officials have condemned Somalia's al-Shabab insurgents for raiding the offices of several humanitarian agencies on Monday and banning their activities. The developments come as the Islamic rebels face mounting military opposition.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned al-Shabab's seizure of property and equipment belonging to aid groups and U.N. agencies in central and southern Somalia, calling the attacks "brazen."

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos warned that famine could return to some drought affected areas, if relief work is interrupted.

Both officials also condemned an order by al-Shabab insurgents to ban 16 international aid agencies from operating in areas under their control.

Spokesmen for al-Shabab accuse the aid agencies of political bias, misconduct and illicit activities.  They also say the agencies had not been doing useful work, but that other groups, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, would still be allowed to operate.

Earlier this month, U.N. officials said famine conditions no longer exist in three of the areas that were worst affected, all of them under al-Shabab control, as the Horn of Africa faces its worst drought in 60 years.

J. Peter Pham, Africa director for the Atlantic Council research center here in Washington, says the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab is facing increasing military pressure -- from African peacekeepers, known as AMISOM, to reported U.S. drone strikes and attacks from the armies of neighboring countries.

"The famine and [al-]Shabab's contributions to its exacerbation really cost [al-]Shabab a great deal of popular legitimacy.  The AMISOM forces in Mogadishu in the last year have been really enhanced in their capabilities and have certainly been successful in pushing [al-]Shabab out of the capital militarily.  And [al-]Shabab is under pressure from the Kenyan incursion, even if the Kenyans are apparently bogged down," he said.

Ethiopian troops are pushing ahead with a western front against al-Shabab fighters as well.  

Pham cautions that even if al-Shabab fighters are further weakened, their core elements might move away from controlling territory to planning more terrorist attacks.  He warns that a multitude of competing militia and clan-based warlords might reemerge. "I think there is an opportunity to militarily degrade [al-]Shabab, but I worry about whether the subsequent follow up is going to be there," he said.

In their statements, U.N. officials placed hopes on civil society meetings taking place in the Somali capital Mogadishu to establish a framework to replace the country's Transitional Federal Government and usher in stability and effective governance.  In other parts of Mogadishu, witnesses say several explosions on Sunday and Monday killed at least six people.  Al-Shabab fighters left most of their fixed positions in the capital in August, but have continued suicide bombings and guerrilla attacks.

Somalia has not had an effective central government for more than 20 years.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid