Negative effects of aid to Somali drought victims

Nairobi (Keydmedia) - It’s a fact that millions of Somalis are facing severe starvation in their country, due to drought that hit the war-torn country. The international community has shown its concern and launched massive relief works in Somalia and in the neighbouring countries, where thousands of Somalis have sought asylum.
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But, many still remember how politics and clan division in the country affect any effort aimed at helping the poor people.

Food aid and genocide

In 1991, when the civil war broke in the country, aid agencies tried to reach people with emergency aid, but that was not easy. Clan militants ensured that no aid so delivered to other clans they considered as rivals, and this has resulted deaths of thousands.

The worst thing was how the Somali local aid workers behaved in this crucial period, when they put aside the ethics and humanity, and instead decided to work with their clan militants to harass members of other clans.

A good example is Jubbaland, where the Darod clans carried out genocide against the majority Wagosha people. Thousands were killed mercilessly, just because they belonged to Wagosha community of Bantu origin.

Among the tactics used to massacre these innocent people was to deny them humanitarian aid. Most of the workers of the international aid agencies in Kismaayo at that time were from the Darod clan. The aid intended to help the poor people was sold and the money used to fund the military operations of General Mohamed Said Morgan and his brutal militants, who involved in killing the Wagosha people.

People who may know more on how aid was denied to Wagosha people include Abdiasis Osman Mohamud who worked with Somali Red Cross and ICRC. Abdiasis was in charge of the food aid to the poor people in Jubbaland, but he had never delivered any food to the poor people in Gosha areas.

Currently, Abdiasis Osman is living in Kenya as wealth businessman with an internet service company in the capital Nairobi. He has also mysteriously obtained Kenyan papers like ID and passport, although he was born in Somalia and served as primary school teacher there.

Abdiasis is also the right hand man and one of the financer of the self proclaimed Jubbaland leader, Mohamed Abdi Gandi, an Ethiopian refugee from Zone five, also known as “kilinka shanaad”. Gandi has promised Abdiasis that he will be in charge of the aid services in Jubbaland, when his administration backed by Kenyan politicians of Ogaden clan take over the Jubba regions.

Another person who is worthy to question is Hersi Aynab, a former civil servant in Somalia, who later on worked with Somali Red Crescent and other aid agencies in Kismaayo. He is from Majerten clan and was a close ally of General Morgan and many believe he used the food aid to feed the militants of General Morgan who carried out genocide and other forms of atrocities against the poor civilians in Jubbaland.

Illegal settlement and famine

In 1974, was hit by severe drought, and this was used as an excuse by the former dictator, Siyad Barre, to resettle thousands of Ethiopian refugees of Ogaden clan in Jubba regions in southern Somalia.

This trick of illegal settlement continues until today, whereby Mohamed Abdi Gandi and his allies are funding secret programs of settling Ogaden clan members from Ethiopia’s Zone Five region to Jubba regions.

Employment opportunities in aid firms

It has become a norm to see many aid agencies employing staff from few Somali clans, leaving out other clans with no option. Its not a bad idea to hire qualified staff who can perform their duties fairly among the society, even if they are all from one clan, but in a country like Somalia, where everything has to something to do with clan, such issues need to be considered carefully.

The agencies should hire people from all clans and this will facilitate the relief task of delivering food to Somali drought afflicted people.

Donor countries are using money from their tax payers, to help poor Somalis affected by drought and famine, but it’s obvious that they will not be happy if they learn that their aid is being used for other purposes, including violation of human rights.

For the last twenty years the international community has gained experience on aid delivery in Somalia, and time has come to put appropriate measures to ensure that there is an accountability and commitment. This will also ensure that humanitarian aid is no longer used as political and military tool by warmongers, as happened in the past.

Drs Fatuma Lamungu

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