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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs