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An unnamed child sits in Babadir hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011.organn AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh

Somali government bans foreign workers from delivering aid

The Somali government has placed a ban on foreign aid workers delivering food to dying citizens in militant-contolled areas.

SOMALIA HAS BANNED expatriates from visiting areas controlled by insurgents in order to deliver aid, saying that the risk of kidnapping is too great.

Many of the areas under militant control are places that have been worst affected by the ongoing food crisis.

The order comes after a Turkish charity entered an area under the control of an Islamist group last week to deliver food; two workers for the organisation were briefly taken hostage before being released.

The threat of kidnapping by militant groups such as al-Shabab is extremely high for non-natives in Somalia, which is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Mogadishu’s mayor and governor Mohamud Ahmed Nur told Reuters: “We want the starving Somalis in al Shabaab areas to be fed but we do not want the foreign workers to meet al Shabaab… Let the foreign aid workers hand over the relief food to the local NGOs, which can deliver to the drought victims in al Shabaab areas”.

“The government is responsible for the security of foreign aid workers. We do not want them to be harmed. Why risk their lives?” he added.

Aid agencies have said that almost two million Somalis who urgently need food are now inaccessible, and that hundreds of people are dying of starvation each day. The UN has said that 750,000 people could die over the next four months.

Irish aid organisation Goal said that the situation has “worsened considerably”, with the organisation’s CEO John O’Shea explaining: “It must surely be abundantly clear to the international community that only the intervention of a properly equipped peacekeeping force, to provide safe corridors for the delivery of aid, can prevent catastrophic loss of life”.

“Alternatively, the international community must provide for the expansion of the African Union force on the ground, to enable it to act as the main protector of a meaningful relief effort,” he added.

O’Shea said that if concrete steps were not taken soon , it could result in “certain death for perhaps millions of human beings.”

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