Sunday, September 11, 2011

Security key to ending Somalia famine, say African leaders

Katy Migiro in AlertNet: Horn-of-Africa leaders on Friday rallied behind Somalia’s embattled government at a summit in Nairobi, supporting its efforts to oust Islamic militants from famine zones in the south of the war-torn country.

The presidents of Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Somalia and South Sudan met to discuss solutions to drought which has left 13 million people across the region hungry. Somalia is at the epicentre of the crisis, with famine declared in parts of the south in July.

“If there was full security, we are sure that the people in the famine areas would have been saved,” said Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. “But due to the fact that that areas are controlled by al Shabaab, which does not allow food aid through, it’s allowed these people to suffer,”

Al Shabaab rebels, allied to al Qaeda, have refused to allow the United Nations to deliver food relief into the areas they control. The U.N. said 750,000 people face imminent death from starvation. The U.N. said on Monday that the famine is likely to spread across all of southern Somalia by the end of the year….

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