UN concerned over Somali threats, famine

2012-03-06 11:31
New York - The UN Security Council expressed grave concern on Monday at the threat posed by Somali pirates and extremist groups as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned the African state's humanitarian situation would likely deteriorate again in the coming months.

For the past two decades, Somalia has been engulfed in anarchy, chaos and conflict. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that fighting, famine and disease have killed up to a million people since Somalia's last government collapsed in 1991.

The international community has become increasingly concerned at Somalia becoming a leading global haven for Islamist militancy and the rising toll of Somali piracy, estimated to cost the global economy some $7bn a year.

"The Security Council remains gravely concerned about the ongoing threat posed by piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia," the UN council said in a statement that also recognized that instability contributed to the problem.

"The Security Council remains gravely concerned about the threat posed to Somalia and the international community by terrorist attacks by Somali armed opposition groups, in particular al-Shabaab," it said.

A weak Transitional Federal Government has been fighting al-Shabaab Islamist militants - who have aligned themselves with al-Qaeda - for the past five years and is now racing the clock to enact a new constitution and hold elections by August 20.

A UN Security Council resolution last month expanded an African Union's peacekeeping force in Somalia, Amisom, to 17 731 from 12 000, while a February 23 conference in London of more than 40 countries agreed to "act against spoilers to the peace process". A follow-up conference in set for Istanbul in June.

Peace and stability

On top of the security situation, a seven-month famine has killed tens of thousands in south and central Somalia, much of which is controlled by Islamist militants. The United Nations said last month the famine had ended, but more than 2.3 million Somalis, almost a third of the population, are still in need of aid.

"Sustained high levels of humanitarian assistance and an exceptional harvest have improved the situation," Ban told the UN Security Council on Monday.

"However, this progress is extremely fragile - and will likely deteriorate in the coming months as we move into the lean season before the next and most important harvest period in August. Somalia is not out of danger," he said.

Ban said the United Nations intended to move more staff to Somalia from Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya in the coming weeks.

The UN envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said more than 320 000 children in Somalia were acutely malnourished and many areas now out of famine remained "on the cusp of falling back."

"In a village of 5 000 in these areas, a person dies every day; that victim is usually a child," he told the UN Council.

"We do not have the luxury of time ... Somalia today has the greatest opportunity to end the two decades-long conflict and bring lasting peace and stability," he said, adding that strong support was needed from the international community to capitalise on this momentum.

Read more on:    un  |  al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  ban ki-moon  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.