Somalia ‘no longer broken’ but needs aid: president

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

United Nations (United States) – Somalia’s president on Friday appealed at the United Nations for half a billion dollars in aid even as he declared that his violence-prone country was “no longer broken.”

About 3.2 million people are in need of aid and more than one million Somalis face an acute food crisis, in the country of 7.5 million, he said.

A humanitarian appeal for $933 million was launched in June, but the president said less than a third of the requested aid had reached Somalia, a country long synonymous with chaos and lawlessness.

“This situation must be addressed urgently,” said the president. “More than half a billion US dollars are still required for life-saving activities.”

Mohamud, who has led the Horn of Africa nation since 2012, cited progress in restoring peace and proclaimed his country is “not a Somalia of failure.”

“We may still be fragile, but we are no longer broken,” he said.

Supported by African Union troops, Somalia has succeeded in pushing back Shebab insurgents, driving the Al-Qaeda-linked fighters out of 70 percent of the south and central regions, he said.

US and Somali officials said earlier this month that airstrikes had killed Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the Shebab group in Somalia.

But Mohamud noted that Somalia’s geographical location as a gateway between the Gulf and Africa made it vulnerable to foreign extremist groups seeking haven or a base of operations.

“Al-Shebab must not be defeated only for other extremist groups, such as the ISIS militant group, to find fertile ground,” he warned.

The president was referring to Islamic State fighters who have overrun parts of Iraq and Syria, prompting the United States to launch airstrikes last month in a campaign to defeat the extremists.

Source: AFP