War in Somalia leads to starving children

This video from UNICEF is called The burden on children in drought-stricken Somalia.

George W. Bush went to war in Afghanistan. Then, he went to war in Iraq. Last year, he went to war in Somalia, with the US Air Force and his cronies’ regime’s armed forces from Ethiopia.

Whether in Iraq or in Afghanistan, one of the terrible consequences in the wake of Bush’s wars is starvation of children.

And today, we read about Somalia:

Child malnutrition in Somalia at critical levels: U.N.

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Child malnutrition in Somalia is at critical levels due to violence and lack of access for aid workers, the U.N. children’s agency said on Wednesday.

UNICEF said 83,000 children in central and southern parts of the Horn of Africa nation were suffering from malnutrition and 13,500 of those were severely malnourished and at risk of dying.

“Such critical levels in a region known as the country’s breadbasket are alarming and point to a deteriorating humanitarian situation,” the agency said in a statement.

Not just in Somalia, but also in Ethiopia; where apparently, there is money to wage George W. Bush’s wars, but not to feed the hungry.

6 thoughts on “War in Somalia leads to starving children

  1. Black History Month: War on Terror, Occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and proxy wars in Africa

    As part of Black History Month, Stop the War Coalition are holding a day conference on war in the Middle East and Africa.

    The date is Saturday 13 October. It is at 10 am and the venue is Room V111, Vernon Square Building of SOAS, Vernon Square (near Kings Cross), London WC1.

    9.30am – Registration

    10am to 12noon
    1. Lindsey German (Convenor, StWC)
    2. Houdan Dualeh (SOAS Somali Students Society)
    3. Princess Emmanuelle (Word Sound Poetry – Deaths in Custody)

    12.30pm to 2.30pm
    1. Luwezi Kinshasha (International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement)
    2. Dr Mariam Suliman (Darfur Union)

    3pm to 5pm
    1. Deka Hassan (Somali Forum for Peace & Democracy)
    2. Explo Nani-Kofi (StWC Steering Committee & Editor of Kilombo Pan
    African Journal)

    Contact: stwc_bhm@yahoo. co.uk or phone 07984405307
    Press Release

    ‘War on terror’ front lines – African proxy wars and the Iraq/Afghanistan occupation
    Contact Explo Nani-Kofi 07984 405 307 stwc_bhm@yahoo.co.uk

    What does the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan have in common with the wars ravaging Africa? How is the ‘war on terror’ impacting on Africans both in Africa and in the west? A day-long conference on Saturday 13 October, 10am to 5pm, at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London is being organised by ALISC Network, SOAS students’ society Friends of Africa and the UK Stop the War Coalition. The conference is supported by Kilombo journal and the Centre for African Studies at the University of London.

    From Congo to Somalia, Darfur and Uganda, Africa’s proxy wars are orchestrated by western (and now Chinese) economic and military interests. The ensuing suffering and chaos eases direct multinational incursion into Africa. Although US and other western soldiers’ lives aren’t lost in Africa’s wars, unlike Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s, those who benefit from all these wars are the same – western banks and multinational corporations, including security companies with their vast private armies.

    Explo Nani Kofi, a StW national steering committee member and one of the organisers of the conference, said, “The majority who die in these wars are the ordinary people of Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan, in their thousands. They’re also the ones who are disabled, raped if they’re women or children, who have to flee, have to cope.”

    The acknowledged African front line of the ‘war on terror’ is the Sahel region, the Sahara/tropical Africa borderlands. In the east it stretches into the Horn of Africa. Largely Muslim populations are accused of harbouring Al-Qaeda. That’s how the US justified funding Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia this year, and dropping its own bombs on Somalis. Meanwhile Somalis in the UK have been accused of bombing innocent Britons.

    In the Sudan, Darfur’s genocide comes out of a poisonous mixture of the past and the present: competition between different types of farmers for shrinking fertile land and trade openings, centuries old enslavement and cultural colonisation of Africans by the Arab elite, arbitrary British colonial borders, and of course oil. The US now has a competitor in its greed for African oil: China. And African governments fall over themselves to host US military installations, take Chinese government ‘no strings’ loans.

    October is Black History Month, so 13 October will draw attention to another front line in the war on terror. African and African-descent communities in the UK still reap the bitter fruit of the European slave trade. Young black men are the majority of the ignored thousands who have died in police custody and mental institutions with no-one brought to book. Police use increased stop and search powers to terrorise black communities, many of which are Muslim. The official justification? The ‘war on terror’.

    The emphasis on 13 October will be on what is being done to solve these problems, especially in Africa. Speakers including Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War coalition, Deka Hassan of the Somali Forum for Peace and Democracy, Dr Mariam Suliman of the Darfur Union, and Congolese-born Luwezi Kinshasa of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, will all emphasise how organising can get results – for example, anti-war public opinion is now a major force that both US presidents and UK prime ministers have to reckon with.

    In Africa, peace and justice movements are grounded in the struggle for democracy, for majority control of government and of fabulously rich African resources. Trade unions and women’s organisations are on the front line of struggle.

    The onus, then, is on western supporters to recognise ordinary Africans’ (not elite) home-grown organisations and liberation strategies; and on Africans to join the movement against imperialist wars worldwide.

    Room V111, Vernon Square Campus, Vernon Square, SOAS @ Vernon Square, off Kings Cross Road, near Kings Cross, London WC1


    Burundi: Troops Ready for Deployment in Somalia

    Burundi Réalités (Bujumbura)

    5 October 2007
    Posted to the web 5 October 2007


    The two Burundian battalions that will be deployed to Somalia at the behest of the African union completed their six-week training course on this 4 October 2007.

    More than a hundred trainers from the US army supervised this training on combat tactics. Ceremonies marking the end of this training took place in Camp Gakumbu yesterday.

    The chief of Staff of the National Defence Forces, General Major Samuel Gahiro, thanked the United States of America for this training and praised the determination of the Burundian army to help other countries to find peace.

    This training has resuscitated the military cooperation between Burundi and The United States of America which was suspended during the war that hit Burundi since 1993 after the democratically President was assassinated, sparking a wave of violence across the entire country. Theses two battalions composed of 1700 soldiers have also been trained by French soldiers.

    The date for their deployment has not yet been set since the necessary logistical means necessary have not yet been collected.

    The United States of America has promised to provide to these two battalions telecommunication materials while France has promised to provide transport support.

    The troops’ deployment was postponed early July of this year due to lack of transportation and telecommunication means.

    Ten officers of the Burundian army made a short mission to Somalia in August of this year and concluded that Burundian troops could be deployed to this country located in the horn of Africa and torn apart by internecine wars.

    The deployment of these two battalions will be the first large scale mission involving soldiers from Burundi. A few police and army officers are serving in Darfur under the African Union umbrella.


  2. Somalia: IFJ Condemns Somali Information Minister Attack on Journalists’ Union

    Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

    10 October 2007
    Posted to the web 10 October 2007


    The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the statements of the Somali Minister of Information attacking the National Union of Somali Journalists and asking international organisations to work with local journalists only through his ministry.

    “We are very surprised by this move of the Information Minister,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “We condemn the clumsy statement of the Minister and call on the Somali government to let media organizations work directly with their partners free from government interference.”

    On 5 October, the IFJ as well as Somali organizations and media, received a scanned letter issued by the Somali Minister of Information Madobe Nunow Mohamed, dated on 3 October, 2007. The Minister wrote that to reach NGOs in Somalia the international media organisations should contact the Minister of Information. He added that “No NGO that [sic] can claim the responsibility of Somali Journalism [sic] other than the Somalia Information Ministry.”

    Last Thursday, during an interview on Shabelle Radio (which resumed operations after 15 days off air), Madobe Nunow Mohamed said that he does not recognise the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the union has no right to represent and organise journalists. The Ministry of information is intending “to establish a union for Somali journalists”, the Minister added.

    Mohamed ordered the media companies and organisations to register with his Ministry otherwise the unregistered media will not be able to work. NUSOJ officers told IFJ that their organisation paid 200 US Dollars on 22 July, 2007, for their registration after Mohamed said that the registrations issued by his predecessors were cancelled.

    “NUSOJ is motivated by the need to defend, protect and enhance the historical and current interests of journalists, and we can not be diverted from this line,” said Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of NUSOJ.

    “NUSOJ is a long time affiliate of the IFJ and we express our entire support to our NUSOJ colleagues,” said Gabriel Baglo. “The commitment of NUSOJ for journalists’ rights and duties is well known. We call on the Minister to reconsider his position and to resume peaceful collaboration with NUSOJ for the benefit of the Somali media community.”


    Somalia: Women Plagued By Rape As Crime Rules Collapsed State

    Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

    26 October 2007
    Posted to the web 26 October 2007


    Sexual violence remains part of daily life for many women living in camps for internally displaced people.

    According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, after years of war rape has become a threat to women in Somalia whenever they move along roads, due to the presence of militia at illegal roadblocks and in IDP settlements such as Galkayo, which hosts about 50,000 persons.

    One of them, 33-year-old Hibo, a widow, told UNHCR that security had improved slightly since a small police station was built nearby. “However, three women were still assaulted each night, she told UNHCR. “I don’t expect much help from the police. They cannot do anything and the culprit might take revenge if I dare complain,” she said.

    Farhia, an aid worker explained that there was not much she could do. “Rape remains a strong taboo in Somali society. A young woman who has been raped will not be able to find a husband, while a married woman is frequently thrown out by her husband,” she explained.

    A nurse said, “Women are raped almost daily on the isolated outskirts of the town. We systematically do a tetanus shot; since young Somali women are genitally mutilated and infibulated, rapists always use a knife to rip their vagina open.

    “We encourage them to talk because we want to make sure they won’t commit suicide. But sometimes we find out the truth only when it is too late. We also care for several pregnant women who look perfectly normal. Once they deliver, they kill their baby and this is how we understood that they had been raped.”

    Rape has been a Somali disease ever since the central government collapsed 17 years ago, she said. The nurse said perpetrators were rarely brought to justice; that cases were usually dealt with through traditional means, with the attacker having to pay compensation to the victim’s father or husband, but never to her.

    To ensure survivors of sexual violence receive support, a network of UN agencies ­ including UNHCR, UNFPA and UNICEF ­ has launched a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) prevention and response plan. The plan will build upon local NGOs, where fully committed Somali men and women intend to put an end to sexual violence.


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