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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Somali Pirates: EU Safely Escorts Food Ship but ...

Press release from here:

Successfull escort by German Navy frigate

Muqdisho, Somalia, 26th of June 2009

14.000 tons of food have been delivered successfully to the starving people of Somalia from Mombasa, Kenya to Moqdisho in order to prevent the predicted famine in Somalia.

The humanitarian aid shipping, conducted by the merchant ship JAIPUR, was arranged by order and for account of the World Food Programme of the United Nations.

During the several day lasting journey the vessel was escorted by the European Union Naval Force warship FGS Rheinland-Pfalz, a German Navy frigate. This frigate is operating off the coasts of Somalia since February this year and is part of the EU led Operation Atalanta.

This shouldn't really be a story except that the Somali pirates have no sense of obligation to their fellow Somalis and will intercept unescorted food ships.

On the other hand, the UN ReliefWeb reports that new fighting in Mogadishu is creating even more refugees and strain on the UN systems - since Somalia is too fragmented to help itself (and has been that way for what. 20+ years?):
The UN refugee agency on Friday said it was "gravely concerned" about spiralling violence and the worsening displacement crisis in Somalia, where almost 170,000 people have fled the capital Mogadishu since a fresh wave of fighting erupted in early May.

"Fighting between government forces and the opposition Al-Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam, which erupted on May 7 in several north-west areas of the Somali capital Mogadishu, is leaving a trail of civilian casualties, destruction and renewed displacement," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

According to records of local Somali hospitals, more than 250 civilians have been killed and at least 900 wounded during this period. "We estimate that since the start of the fighting in May more than 169,000 people have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere within Somalia or in neighbouring countries," Spindler said. Between last Friday and Monday alone, an estimated 33,000 were displaced from Mogadishu due to the heavy fighting.

The majority of the internally displaced people (IDPs), some 51,000, moved to safer districts within the city or makeshift IDP settlements on the outskirts of Mogadishu, while another 48,000 fled towards the Afgooye corridor to the west of the capital. They joined more than 400,000 civilians who have been displaced since 2007. A further 70,000 have gone to more distant locations, including the districts of Lower and Middle Shebelle, Lower Juba, Galgaduud, and Gedo.
The UN Relief people spend a lot of time being "gravely concerned" about Somalia.

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